Beets are beautifully colorful and earthy. They can be eaten in a variety of ways in both sweet and savory applications.
Being fresh vegetables, beets don’t last all that long. Freezing beets, however, is a great option to prolong their shelf life.
You will have to do a little preparation to make sure you get the best out of your frozen beets, but the great thing is that when you are ready to eat them you can simply remove them from the freezer, thaw, and eat.
Below is a step-by-step guide to successfully freezing beets.
Types of Beetroot
Beets, also referred to as beetroot, are the bulky taproot part of a beet plant. They come in various colors and sizes of which the four most common types are:
Red beets are the most commonly found types of beets. They are a little messy when freshly cut leaking their deep red and purple colored juices. This is of course part of what makes them unique and beautiful vegetables.
Their earthy flavor sweetens slightly as they ripen. Red beets are popularly used in soups such as borscht, pickled, and used in a beet salad.
Golden beets are slightly less sweet than red beets. They have a bright yellow color and are smaller than the bulky red beets.
Chioggia beets, also called candy cane beets, are naturally striped with pink and white rings. Keep them raw for their unique appearance. Once cooked the color effect may fade.
Baby beets are any beets that are removed from the soil to thin the field for other beets to grow larger. They are tender and sometimes served with their greens.
Beets can be chopped, sliced, grated, pureed, or juiced. They can be served raw in salads, juices, and smoothies and even used in baking and sorbet. Beets can be cooked by boiling, steaming, roasting, and even frying to make beet crisps.
Beet greens are also edible and mostly serve steamed or boiled.
Can Beets Be Frozen?
Yes, beets can be frozen. To get the best out of your beets it is recommended to cook them prior to freezing. Raw frozen beets will become grainy in texture and unpleasant once thawed. Cooked beets, however, are great for freezing and can be used for an additional 8 months when stored correctly in the freezer.
To avoid freezer burn from developing, ensure that the beets stay at a consistent frozen temperature and that they are well packed to protect them from contact with air.
Never freeze beets that are damaged and nearing their expiry. Beets that are on their last should rather be used immediately in soups, smoothies, or juiced.
How To Freeze Beets
Step 1: Clean
To prevent the beet from ‘bleeding’ its red juices, leave one to two inches of the stem on the beet for boiling. Trim the rest of the greens and give the beetroot a good scrub to remove any dirt.
Step 2: Cook
Set a large pot of water on the stovetop and bring it to a boil. Add ¼ cup lemon juice or vinegar which will prevent bleeding when defrosting the beets.
Add the beets to the boiling water and let them cook until tender enough to stick a fork into the flesh. This can take anywhere between 25 and 60 minutes depending on the size of the beets. Some people might choose to blanch beets for a few minutes if you start with sliced beets.
Step 3: Cool
While the beets are cooking, fill a separate bowl with ice water. As soon as the beets become tender, transfer them into the ice water to stop the cooking process.
Step 4: Trim and Peel
Once completely cooled, remove the beets from the ice water and cut off the stem and roots completely. Peel the beets. The skin should come off easily after cooking.
Step 5: Cut
Slice, quarter, or chop the beets into the desired size pieces. If needed, dab the beets with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Extra moisture, water, or juice droplets will cause freezer burn and damage the texture of the beets on thawing.
Step 6: Flash-freeze (Optional)
This step is optional and will prevent the beets from sticking together when freezing. Spread the beets in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the beets are just frozen.
Step 7: Pack and Label
Remove the tray from the freezer. Pack the beets in a good quality resealable freezer bag. Lie the bag flat to press out the air and seal. Using a permanent marker, label the bag with the date and place it in the freezer.
How To Thaw Frozen Beets
Beets are best defrosted overnight in the refrigerator. Once thawed, they can be eaten cold, used in a salad, or added to a cooked dish. Keep in mind that the beets have already been cooked so will turn mushy if heated for too long once fully thawed.
Beets are bright and versatile, offering a great pop of color to any dish. Beet juices are even used as a natural coloring for some food items. With such a vast variety of ways in which beets can be used, don’t let your stash go bad.
Whether you plan to use them for baking, smoothies, soup, salad, pickles, or roasting, pop them in the freezer to extend their shelf life for up to 8 months.
The best part is that all the preparation will be taken care of. When you are ready to use the beets, you will simply have to remove them from the freezer and thaw.
*image by e_mikh/depositphotos