Beets keep fresh better in the cold. If you harvested yours or bought more than you needed, you can easily refrigerate or freeze to prolong their shelf life. A root cellar is also an excellent way to keep beets fresh for longer especially during the winter.
Read below to learn the simple steps that will help keep your beets fresh for longer.
Best ways to store beets
The shelf life of fresh beets depend so much on how you prepare them for storage regardless of the method you choose.
When storing raw beets, clean them using a soft brush to brush off any dirt as water introduces excess moisture making them rot fast.
Remove green tops before storing beets as they tend to draw moisture from the root making them dry over time hence shortening their shelf life.
Always leave 2 inches of the stem attached to the root to prevent bleeding.
Store the green tops separately after removing them from their roots as their way of storage and shelf life tend to differ.
Once you bring your beets home from the store, use this simple steps to refrigerate them if you don’t intent to use them sooner.
- Brush off soil and any dirt from the beets using a soft brush
- Cut off the green tops leaving 2 inches of the stem attached to the root to prevent bleeding
- Put the beets in a plastic bag and punch a few holes to allow breathing
- Put them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator
If stored this way, beets will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 10-14days.
Beets freeze well when cooked. This is because they contain a lot of moisture and freezing them raw turns them grainy over time.
Here’s how to freeze beets:
- Cut off the green tops leaving 2 inch of the stem still attached.
- Rinse the beets under running water
- Sort them according to size if you have different sizes as cooking time tend to differ
- Boil them for 30-50 minutes depending on the size. The smaller beets will take less time and the larger ones more time to be ready. To check for readiness, use a fork to piece through the beet. Cooked beets will be fork-tender.
- Put the beets in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process
- Peel the beets.
- Slice then uniformly into your desired size and shape
- Spread the beets in a baking tray on a single layer making sure they don’t touch each other
- Freeze for 2-3 hours
- Transfer them in an air-tight container or a zipper bag
- Seal the container with its lead. If you use a zipper bag, ensure to remove all air inside before freezing to prevent freezer burns during the freezing process
- Put them in the freezer
Frozen beets will retain their quality for up to 12 months
This method keeps beets fresh by using damp soil or saw dust to help them retain their moisture through out the storage period. It works even better during the winter as the cellar needs the cold weather to keep the soil cool. That doesn’t mean that you can not use it during other seasons, you just need to identify the coolest part of your house away from direct sunlight and you are good to go. Here’s how to go about it:
- Cut the green tops leaving 2 inches of the stem attached to the root
- Put damp soil or saw dust in a wide wooden box
- Arrange the roots on the soil bed in a single layer away from each other
- Cover with damp soil and repeat the process until all the beets are tucked in.
- Place the box in a cool, well ventilated area
Your beets will stay fresh for up to 3-5 months if properly stored this way.
How to choose beets
- The green tops should be dark green and crisp to touch if still attached
- Choose beets that are firm to touch
- Avoid beets with bruised skin
- Go for medium sized beets as larger ones tend to have a tough and woody core
- Avoid beets with large hairy roots. Its an indication of toughness.
Be cautious when handling beets as they can easily stain your kitchen counter, chopping board and even some utensils.