Beet, beetroot or Beta vulgaris, is a valuable vegetable packed with essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals our bodies crave for. This vegetable is extremely good for your health thanks to the antioxidants that help in the prevention of cancer. It is also valued for boosting liver and heart health, and your energy levels.
For all the reasons listed, beets deserve your (and my) undivided attention, and I will, therefore, dedicate my time and effort to teach you how to store beets properly and preserve all the valuable nutrients I have mentioned.
How To Store Beets
Growing your own vegetables is the only way you will be 100% sure that your beets have not been treated with some harmful substances. If you do not have the conditions needed to grow vegetables, at least buy organic produce.
Storing The Beets Properly
Option 1: Short-Term Beets Storage
When you bring your fresh beets into your kitchen, you need to wash both leaves and roots thoroughly. If you are not sure of the origin of the beet, you can soak it in some water with a little bit of baking soda dissolved. This will disinfect the plant and allow it to last longer when stored.
The beet has to be completely dry before storing, so after washing it, you need to give it enough time to air dry. Proceed with removing the greens but leave approximately two inches of stem attached to the root to avoid bleeding that is a common occurrence with red beet.
Do not throw away the greens- as I have already mentioned, they are edible and quite healthy as well! To store the stem and leaves wrap them in a paper towel, put them in a Ziploc bag, remove all the air you possibly can, and seal it. In this manner, you can use the beet greens within 5 next days. They can be a great replacement for spinach, kale or Swiss chard. They are a good addition to fresh lettuce salad as well.
The root needs to be completely dry before storing too. To make sure there is no moisture on the root surface wipe it off with a paper towel. Take a large Ziploc bag, place the root in it, remove the air and seal it tight. Keep the bag in your refrigerator, and your beet is sure to last at least two to three weeks.
Option 2: Long-Term Beets Storage
When you grow your own beets, you are sure to end up with quite a lot of this precious vegetable, and you will need to be extra careful when storing them so that you can use them for as long as humanly possible without them losing their nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
After all, these valuable compounds are probably the biggest reason you have grown beets in the first place, am I right?
There are two options you can choose from depending on the intended use, your space and the conditions you can or cannot secure.
These are as follows:
First of all, do not forget to prepare your beets prior to storing them in a root cellar. This means that you must remove the greens and only leave about two inches of their stem in order to avoid bleeding.
The root cellar is the most demanding method of storing beets as you have to secure special conditions. Namely, it needs to be at a temperature of 32 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit while the humidity level should be around 95%.
Beets need to be placed in a container with a secure lid, and you should then use sawdust, sand, or damp peat moss to cover them. In this way, the needed moisture will be retained. You can add more beets as you harvest them- simply create layers in the container.
Remember to keep the soil, sand, peat moss or sawdust damp at all times and your beets will last for up to three months.
If you do not use beets for daily cooking and need to store them for a longer time freezing can be a good option to choose. You begin the process in the same way that I have already mentioned- by washing beets and removing their stems.
Subsequently, you need to boil beets for approximately half an hour, or more if you like the softer consistency. If you are not sure that they are done, use a fork to check whether it pierces through the beet with ease. If you do not boil the beets before freezing them, their taste and texture will change for the worse, so do not skip this step.
When cooked, let the beets cool, if you are in a hurry place them in an ice bath. Next, remove the skins and cut them into the desired shape (I recommend slices). My advice is to use dark utensils in order to avoid staining.
Finally, pack the slices into freezer bags, label them with the packing date and place them in the freezer. The beets will stay good for up to a year.