This article will show you how to store beets from the garden. Beets are extremely versatile, and you can easily plant a huge lot in your home garden. But, what do you do when it’s time to harvest?
If you find yourself with a whole lot of beets and not much to do with them, you need to store them properly. Luckily, beets can go a long time without getting spoiled as long as you take proper care while storing them.
So, what’s the best way to store these deep red gems? How long do they stay good?
Let us look at everything you need to know about storing beets from the garden, from the right time to some tips that can make your life easier.
Selecting Which Beets to Store
First off, you need to identify which beets you should store. Here are a few warning signs to look out for.
Fresh and Unwilted Greens
You can gauge the freshness of beet by looking at its leaves. If the leaves are not attached to the beetroot, the chances are that it’s past its prime.
Beets with fresh green leaves indicate a good yield. However, if the leaves are attached to the beet but are dry and wilted, it is not a good sign.
When you grow beets in your own garden, you can pick them once you’re well into the winter season, maybe even after the first frost. You only need to ensure that you pick them before the temperature falls below 24°F at night.
Pro-Tip: Instead of leaving them in the sun after picking, put the beets somewhere cold.
Soft or Firm
If your beets have gone soft, unfortunately, you need to away with them.
Feel the beets before picking them out and only keep those that are firm to touch.
Yes, beauty standards should not matter. No, we cannot use that argument for beets! While picking out, you should look for beets with unblemished skin.
A dark maroon color is a good sign of healthy produce. In addition, the tail at the bottom should also be undamaged.
How to Store Raw Beets From Your Garden
Once you’ve picked out which beets you should store, get started on the actual storing process.
If stored properly, beets can stay good for 2 to 3 weeks. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:
- Wash the leaves and roots well
- Ensure to dry the beets completely
- Remove the greens and transfer the roots to a Ziploc bag by removing all the air
- For darker beets, leave almost 2 inches of stem attached to the root to avoid bleeding
- Wrap the greens in a paper towel. Place these in a Ziploc bag and remove all the air
The greens will last for 2 to 5 days from the day you purchase them.
For the roots, place the Ziploc bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, and they should hold well for 2 to 3 weeks.
If your garden produce is a lot more than you can consume in a couple of weeks, you consider freezing them for a long time.
Here are the steps you need to follow to freeze your beets for a month to three successfully.
- Trim the Stem and Leaves: Use a pair of scissors to cut the greens near the top of the beets.
- Dry the Beets: When storing for the long run, do not wash your beets. If they are muddy or wet, lay them out for drying. You can spread the beets out on a newspaper or tarp in a dry place, where it isn’t freezing. However, please don’t leave them out for so long that they become limp.
- Transfer to a Plastic Bag: Place your beets in a Ziploc or a plastic bag. If there is any soil on the beets, let it stay. Do not wash the beets, no matter how tempted you are. Scrubbing the dirt away could compromise the storage life on the beets.
- Poke the Bag: Poke a few tiny holes in the plastic bag to allow humidity and moisture to escape. It ensures that the beets remain dry in storage and last longer.
- Place in the Fridge: Transfer the bags in the corner of your fridge or the crisper of the refrigerator.
Voila! Your beets will now stay good for one to three months. Whenever you wish to use them, scrub them off in a bowl of water, and you should be good to go.
Remember to check your beets from time to time, as even one infected beet can spoil the entire lot it is stored with.
How to Store Beets from the Garden in a Root Cellar
If you grow your own vegetables regularly, having a root cellar is quite useful. It provides a cool and dark spot for storing beets and other similar roots.
- Remove the greens
- Fill a bucket with damp sand, sawdust, or peat moss
- Bury your bulbs in this bucket without letting them touch each other
- Place a lid over the bucket to retain moisture. Ensure that it is loosely placed, allowing for air circulation
You should keep checking this bucket from time to time. Remember to check the roots regularly and remove any that show signs of rotting.
Beets stored in this manner will remain fresh for up to three months.
Other Ways of Storing Beets
If you want to store your beets for even longer – say almost a year – you could consider freezing, canning, or pickling them. However, you cannot store raw beets for so long.
Pickling or canning is usually a complex and long-drawn-out process. It is easier to freeze them.
How to Store Beets from the Garden for a Year
If you don’t want to use your beets immediately, you can freeze them for almost an entire year. Follow these simple steps to store your beets.
- Wash and remove the stems. Leave almost 2 inches of the stem to avoid bleeding
- Boil the beets till you get your desired consistency. This process should take 20 minutes for smaller beets and 45 minutes for larger ones
- Stop boiling once you can press into the beet with a fork
- Place them in a refrigerator or an ice bath for cooling
- Once they are cool enough to be handled, remove the skins
- Cut the beets as you desire. Slicing and dicing are popular options
- Transfer the beets into freezer bags
- Label the bags with the month and year to keep proper track
Your beets will now stay good for 8 to 12 months. Do not try storing raw beets for so long, as that may compromise their taste and texture.
Pro-tip: Use dark chopping boards and dark towels as beet can leave ugly stains on lighter products.
Storing beets is a fairly straightforward process. If you follow all the steps correctly, your beets should stay good for months, without any rot or infection.
It is imperative though that whichever method of storing you use, you keep checking your beets regularly. One spoilt beet is enough to compromise the entire bag, which is why you should always keep an eye.
One of the many advantages of having a home garden is producing whatever you like in any quantity. So, make the most of your home produce by storing your beets and using them over longer periods!