Did you just bring in your latest harvest of beetroots and greens?
You might be wondering how to store them for the winter. Short term storage is far easier than long term, and won’t take too much effort or time on your part. Long term storage opens more options up to you, but is also a little trickier. With the right kind of preparation, you can get your roots in shape for the rest of the season.
Here are some fascinating ideas for storing your beets…
Storing in the Short Term
Beets are extremely resilient plants. Beetroots will keep for about three weeks if you store them right. First, wash all the roots and greens very well. Don’t use soap. Air dry them or find another way to dry them out completely before putting them in your refrigerator. If you only want to store the roots, break or cut off the leafy part about two inches from where it meets the root.
You do this so that you won’t open your fridge later to find what looks like a horrific murder scene in the vegetable drawer. You only need to cut off the greens if you’re storing red or purple roots – yellow and white beets don’t bleed.
After having dried the roots out completely, put them in a sealed bag and make sure it is airtight. Put it in your fridge and use when necessary. With this type of prep, you won’t have to worry about them going bad for at least two more weeks.
Long Term Beetroot Storage Methods
1. The Root Cellar
When storing your roots for the long term, a root cellar is probably the best method to use. Make sure that the cellar is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit for the longest lifetime of the beets. The humidity of the cellar should be at about 95%. You can store the beets in a variety of media including sand or sawdust. Some people even use peat moss!
Always keep the roots in a container that can be shut. Since you won’t be storing them in a fridge, they need to be kept moist. A container with a lid keeps the moisture in so that the beets taste fresh when you get them out for cooking later.
Now, you can’t just put the beets in anything. You have to prepare them for storage to give them the best shot at staying alive and fresh. Remove the greens about two inches from the bottom like you would when putting them in the fridge. Layer them in your container, putting damp sand, sawdust or even peat moss in between the layers. Storing the beetroot in your root cellar will give it a lifetime of about three months!
Wood chips are a great alternative to messy sand and sawdust. Get a bag of chips from a home supply store. Wash, clean, and dry your beetroot. Put the chips in a pan and add some water to the pan too to dampen them. Get a container for the beets and layer the bottom of it with your damp chips. Set the beets in the container in one layer. DON’T LET THEM TOUCH EACH OTHER. After this, layer the beets with more of the wood chips.
Probably one of the easiest ways to store beets is to freeze them. It can make the beets last for up to a year in storage. Now, you can’t freeze raw beetroot. Instead, you have to wash the beets and clean them like you normally would. Then, you have to boil the beetroot in water until it is a little softer. A good timeframe to boil the root is for about half an hour.
After having cooked it, you can skin the root and slice it or dice it. Put the results into freezer bags and label them so you know when to throw them out. Place them in a deep-freezing unit. Again, don’t freeze them raw – the texture and the taste can be negatively affected.
Canning or pickling your beetroot harvest is another great way to store them for future use. Canned beets can last for over a year if done right. Take your beetroots and clean them. Scrub them down with an actual scrubber if you want to. After having cleaned them, you should get rid of the greens.
Place the beets in a cooking pan and fill the pan with water. Cook them for about 45 minutes. If you’re using a pressure cooker, you only need to do so for about 10 minutes. After you’re done, drain the water out and let the beets cool naturally.
After they’re cool, skin the beetroot and cut them to the shapes and sizes you want. Boil more fresh water for your canning jars and add pickling salt to the water. Fill your canning jars with the beets you have cut. Don’t fill them all the way up to the brim – leave about an inch of space between the last beets and the top of the jar. Now take the boiling fresh water and put it into the jar as well, still leaving the inch of space on top.
Once this is done, seal each jar tightly by placing a lid on each one. Pick the jars up and put them in a canner. You can find canners online or at home supply stores. Fill the canner with water and twist the lid on. When the canning is done, store the cans in a cool, dry place for added preservation.
Preserving Beetroot is Very Easy Indeed
With the methods listed above, you can store your beetroots for as long as you want to. If it is in the short term, the easiest way is to cool the beets. Whichever method you pick, make sure you wash and dry the beetroot before doing anything else. This prevents diseases and stops the beets from going bad while in storage.