Fresh beets will stay fresh for two or three weeks if you just cut off the leaves from the roots, and then pop them into a sealed plastic bag. Afterward, just throw the bag into the crisper drawer of your bridge, and voilà!
It goes without saying that there’s a tiny bit more nuance to the process of storing beets than could be put into a single paragraph of text, though. For example, you’ll need to know precisely where to cut the leaves off the root. That’s where we come in with this nice and neat guide, though.
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How to Store Beets Properly?
If you don’t want your beets to skip a beat (sorry) and lose their trademark crispness before you have the chance to munch on them, your best option will probably be to have a root cellar to store them in. Don’t fret, though, because a fridge will do the trick in a pinch, too.
What’s particularly curious about beets is that they don’t keep well if you keep them entirely intact. If you’ve ever tried to store beets for weeks at a time beforehand, but they always turned mushy and soft after just a little while, we’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s the leaves that are messing things up for you!
A beetroot’s leaves are often the main cause of early expiration, because they greatly accelerate the rate at which beets rot. With that in mind, you’re going to want to chop the greens off the root, leaving about 2 inches (5 centimeters) of red stem attached.
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Afterward, you can toss the roots into any kind of plastic bag (like this) or sealed container (like this one) and set it down into your fridge’s crisper drawer for safe-keeping. That will keep your beetroots fresh for several weeks at a time, easily.
How to Store Beets in a Root Cellar?
Of course, if you’ve got a root cellar, you can forego the fridge method and bury your beetroots – again, without the greens – in a bucket filled with slightly damp sand. Take extra care to make sure that your beets aren’t touching one another, as this will basically invalidate the whole sand bucket setup you’ve got going.
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When the bucket is all good and ready, put a lid on it, but leave it somewhat loose. This will help maintain a stable level of moisture in the sand, while still allowing for enough air circulation to prevent the mold from growing.
Note that sawdust or peat moss can be used instead of sand, if you have either of these more readily available.
By doing all of this, you’ll easily add extra weeks to your beets’ original shelf-life. If you were hoping for a long-term storage solution, a root cellar will essentially be your best option of all, short of using a freezer.
Can I Freeze the Beets?
Naturally, beets can also be frozen for long-term safe-keeping, though you’ll need to cook the roots first. Raw beets are extremely susceptible to chilling injuries, but as long as you properly cook them before freezing, there shouldn’t be any real issues with storage.
If you’re cooking beetroots for freezing, prepare a large pot of boiling water, thoroughly salted. When the pot begins to boil, put in your batch of roots. Again, cut the leaves off as described above. You’re going to want to cook the roots for about half an hour until they’re fork-tender, much like potatoes would be.
After the beets are properly cooked, let them cool off. You can hasten the cooling by giving them a nice icy bath if you’re in a rush. When that’s all done, chop up the roots, pack them into plastic bags or containers, and store them in your freezer. Easy enough!
How Long Can Beets be Safely Stored?
If you keep your beets in the fridge, and with all the tips we’ve mentioned above in mind, then you’ll get about three to four weeks of shelf-life out of them.
By keeping your beets in a bucket of moist sand in a root cellar, you’ll extend that for months, with the upper limit sitting at around three months’ time.
Finally, cooking and freezing the beetroots in pieces and/or slices will allow you to keep them for up to a year without losing any of their original zest. Beets are a great choice if you’re looking for a versatile veggie that’ll stay edible for a very long time.
How to Tell if My Beets Have Expired?
If improperly stored, beets will eventually rot, but the first sign of them going bad will be if they’re suddenly soft and mushy. At that point, and if you’re hoping to still use them for something, you’ll have an additional day or two to get it done.
Though, keep in mind that beetroots won’t exactly be delicious at that point. Expect them to be significantly more bitter and drier than fresh beets are. Still perfectly edible, however!
Generally, beets should not be limp, soft, or mushy. As soon as you notice these signs, you should know that they’re about to go bad, and that you really should use them up as soon as possible.
Beet Storage Mistakes: Don’t Make ‘Em!
As with many other fruits and veggies, washing beetroots before you’re ready to actually do something with them is a major no-no. As soon as you wash them, you’ve shortened their shelf-life by a fair bit, so postpone doing so as much as possible. Unless, of course, you’re preparing the roots for freezing.
Further – and we cannot stress this enough – it is crucial that you cut the greens off the roots for safe-keeping. You can still use the leaves for a salad or some such, but keeping them intact is a sure-fire way to have your beetroots expire way sooner than they otherwise would’ve.
Are Your Storing Your Beets Correctly?
All in all, beets aren’t a particularly difficult root vegetable to work with. As our guides usually show, though, it pays off to know a few tricks about veggie storage here and there.