Beets (or beetroots) are harvested from summer to late fall. If you are a true beet lover, you might want to preserve some of this root vegetable to enjoy on cold winter days and later on.
Perhaps, you harvest too much your family can possibly eat right away. You’re looking for a way to overcome this wonderful problem. In that case, you might be asking: can you freeze beetroots successfully?
Yes. This root vegetable is a great candidate for freezing. Keep reading to find out the tips for preserving beets at home for future use.
How To Freeze Beets Properly
Freezing is an easy method to preserve almost any kind of food, including beetroots. Here is our simple guide to freezing beets with great success!
1. Start with selecting deep red, firm, young beets.
2. Sort them according to size. If you buy from a local market, try to pick one’s in similar sizes, so you can save time on sorting and blanching stages.
3. Wash them thoroughly and scrub off the soil and dirt. No need to use soap. (*)
4. Trim off the greens and leave at least ½ inch of the stem and the long taproot. Don’t remove the entire parts to prevent the beets from ‘bleeding’ their intense deep red juices during the boiling step. The greens are perfectly edible; set them aside for later use. You can cook them similarly to kale, spinach, or Swiss chards.
5. Boil or roast the beets for freezing.
You can boil, roast, or steam them before freezing. In boiling water, cook them until tender but not too soft. Small-sized beets take approximately 25 to 30 minutes to cook, while medium-sized ones take around 45 to 50 minutes. If you can prick them easily with a knife or a fork, they are done. Otherwise, continue cooking them and check every 5 to 10 minutes.
To roast the beets, simply arrange them in a roasting pan, add 1 cup of water or until around ½ inch depth, and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 400 °F and roast them for 45 minutes or until they are fork-tender. Let them cool promptly before packing.
6. Transfer boiled beets to an ice water bath immediately to stop the cooking process. Let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes to cool down. Skip this step if you choose to roast them.
7. Once they are cool enough, trim off the stems and roots and peel off the skin. They are easier to peel after cooking; the skins should slip off right away.
8. Slice or cut them to your desired shape and size.
9. Arrange them on a baking sheet and flash freeze for several hours. This step is optional but helpful to prevent the beet pieces from forming a big clump during freezing.
10. Pack in a freezer bag. Portion them out into a single serving size. This way, you can easily pull a bag enough for a recipe instead of thawing a bigger pack.
11. Suck out as much air as possible from the bag. Use a vacuum sealer or a straw to remove excess air.
12. Seal the bag tightly and label it with the name and freezing date.
13. Freeze for long-term storage.
Can you freeze beets without blanching?
Yes, you can freeze beets (or other vegetables) without blanching or cooking them first. Blanching stops enzyme reactions that cause the loss of color, flavor, and texture. (*)
If you plan to freeze them longer than 2 to 3 months, it is highly recommended to cook them before freezing.
Thawing and Using Frozen Beets
To defrost frozen beats, simply leave them in the refrigerator for several hours. For a large quantity, thaw them overnight.
After thawing, serve them right away in a salad or your favorite recipes. No need to reheat them. If you want to cook them, no need to thaw them in advance. You can add them frozen in the pot and let them soften up while cooking.
You can use previously frozen beets similarly to fresh ones. Here are some delicious recipes to enjoy this nutritious vegetable.
– Enjoy them as a simple side dish
– Serve in a salad with leafy greens and a generous amount of goat cheese
– Pickle them with onions
– Mix with lots of berries and make healthy smoothies
– Cook them into classic borscht soup
How Long Can You Freeze Beets?
Beets can be frozen for up to 10 to 12 months without losing their freshness and flavor. To maintain safety and quality, make sure to check your freezer temperatures regularly and set them to 0 °F.
They keep indefinitely, but the quality slowly diminishes with lengthy freezing. Moreover, the longer you freeze them, the more likely they suffer from freezer burn. So, it’s best to enjoy the root vegetable while still in its prime condition.
Beets find their way in so many delicious recipes beyond salad. Try the famous borscht or pickle them with onions. Puree them to make gnocchi, roast them for low-calorie hummus, or stuff them into kebabs and sandwiches. Freezing them for later use is also an excellent way to prolong shelf life. Follow our tips for freezing beets in previous sections.
Yes. Freezing doesn’t necessarily affect fresh produce’s nutrients. In other words, frozen beets are as nutritious as fresh ones. (*)
Raw beets keep for 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Don’t use them if they are soft, moldy, smell unpleasant, or taste off. Remove the greens and stem to prevent absorbing moisture before refrigerating. For long-term storage, try freezing them. Check our tips in previous sections.
Yes. Freezing beet greens is quite simple. Wash them thoroughly, blanch in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, cool down in ice water, drain them off, pack, and freeze for up to 10 to 12 months.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation suggests canning pickled beets for long-term storage. If you have canned them properly, they are shelf-stable, and there is no need to freeze them. Home-canned foods can last up to 12 months in the pantry.
Beets are a common vegetable that a gardener grows at home. In case you want to preserve your harvest for future cooking, freezing is your best bet.
Freezing beetroots only take a few simple steps. You can either boil or roast them beforehand to preserve the color, texture, and flavors. Now that you know the right way to freeze this root vegetable, you can make the most of your summer harvest and enjoy it all year round.
*image by urban_light/depositphotos