preserving beetroot

5 Different Methods of Preserving Beetroot in the Best Way



At Lets Grow Cook we love beetroot.  We love it when we buy it in a shop, pickled in a jar, freshly cooked, but we loved beetroot the most when we grow it ourselves.  Cooking beetroot and preserving beetroot has to be one of the most satisfying jobs.  And so we’ve pulled together a variety of different ways on how to preserve beetroot and store it for months to enjoy later.

How to Preserve Beetroot

Storing all vegetables in the right way is not only about making them last longer, but also retaining the essential nutrients that make them good for you.   While freshly roasted or cooked beetroot is a firm favourite here, we also love preserving beetroot to make it last longer and enjoy throughout the year.

Why You Should Be Preserving Beetroot

Many vegetables will freeze well, but others work better if you store them in different ways.  Here are 5 ways to store beetroot and our tips on essential things to do and to avoid when it comes to preserving beetroot for longevity and flavour.

How to prepare beetroot for preserving

Unless you are leaving beetroot in the ground or storing it in boxes, then you will need to cook the beetroot.  In all instance of beetroot preservation, you will need to

Clean Beetroot for storage

To clean your beetroot for long term storage, whether you are storing it in a box or freezing beetroot or pickling or dehydrating it do the following

  1. Remove all the foliage, simply chop it off close to the beet itself.  You can use this foliage for salads or include within soups.
  2. Clean all soil and long straggly roots off the beetroot.

Cook Beetroot for Freezing, Dehydrating or Pickling

To cook beetroot that you’re going to either eat or store using one of the methods of freezing, pickling or dehydrating, then you will need the following

  1. A large pan
  2. A pair of rubber gloves or two plastic bags
  3. A colander or method of draining the water

Bring the pan of water to the boil and put the beetroot in.  Once the water has returned to the boil turn the heat down and simmer for around 30-45 minutes until the beetroot is tender.  The best way of testing that beetroot is cooked is to stick an ordinary kitchen fork into it and when the beet slides off the fork it is cooked.

Allow the beetroot to cool.

To peel the beetroot, you will want to put on the gloves or plastic bags, as this does get messy.  You’ll also want to peel beetroot in your sink and wearing an apron or something to protect your clothes.  When beetroot is cooked the skin simply slides off.  Have your compost bin handy, as dripping bright red beetroot juice all over the kitchen floor does not make you a popular person!

5 ways of preserving beetroot

While eating cooking and eating beetroot straight away is a great way of using it, beetroot is also one of the more versatile vegetables that can be preserved for longer.  And it tastes fabulous whichever way you choose to preserve it.  Here are 5 ways in which beetroot can be preserved.

Leave the Beetroot in the compost or soil

Most root vegetables, beetroot included, can be left in the soil or compost over the winter.  So long as you follow a few rules.    You can usually leave beetroot in the ground, or the pot that you’ve grown it in unless you want the pot for something else.  You can plant beetroot as late as July, giving you autumnal crops.  Pick beetroot as you need it, BUT if you’re leaving beetroot “in situ”, then you should make sure that it is well-drained, and that the roots don’t get damaged by hard frosts, which will affect the beetroot much more if the ground is wet.  If you are leaving beetroot in the ground, then cover with straw or some other insulator and your beetroot is likely to last until March!

Store raw beetroot in a cool moist place

If you decide to lift the beetroot, then make sure that you do the following

  1. All beetroot that is for storage is in good condition.  If it’s not, then it won’t store for the long term
  2. Cut off any foliage and get rid of loose soil
  3. You do NOT need to wash the roots before you store them, but if you do you MUST dry them properly.

You are then ready to store your beetroot.  You can store beetroot in a box, in between layers of moist sand or a peat substitute.  This needs to be in a dark, cool place that is frost-free.  This will help to reduce the amount of moisture that the beetroot loses.

homegrown beetroot

Store raw beetroot in the fridge

Beetroot will store in the fridge for up to 3 months.  You’ll want to clean them as above and place them in a plastic bag with airholes, then put them in the vegetable crisper area.

Freezing beetroot

The method of freezing beetroot is the same as freezing other root vegetables.  Cut off the foliage, and cook whole beets in boiling water until they are completely cooked (I test by sticking a fork into the beet and when it slides off, it is cooked).  Cooking usually takes from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the beetroot.  Wait until the beet is slightly cooled and then peel.  The easiest way to peel a beetroot is to wear rubber washing up gloves, or put your hands inside plastic bags (otherwise you will be the red hand gang for a long time!).  And simply slide off the outer peel of the beetroot.

You can freeze your beets whole, chopped or sliced.

Don’t throw away the foliage – you can use them in salads, add to soups or blanch them for later and put them in the freezer too!

Dehydrating beetroot

Beetroots can be stored for longer by dehydrating them, although you will need to purchase a dehydrator.  You’ll want to cook the beetroots, as we’ve described above, peel them and then slice them thinly.  Then you can dry them inside a dehydrator (this one is the best rated we’ve found).  Store them either in vacuum bags, sealable plastic bags or jars that are airtight.

how to dehydrate beetroot

If you’re serious about using dehydration to give you beets and other veg a longer usable life – then read our best buy guide to the UK’s best food dehydrators.

Pickling beetroot

This is absolutely my favourite way of preserving beetroot for the long term.  To preserve beetroot you’ll need to, first of all, cook it and we’ve covered that earlier in this article.  You’ll also need to peel it (don’t forget your gloves!).

preserve beetroot

Jars for pickling beetroots

To store your pickled beetroot you’ll need jars and a liquid to pickle them in.  Let’s start with jars.  You can use any jars – but they will need a metal lid that is not rusty.  The prime pickling agent is vinegar, so jars with plastic lids do not work.   Your jars need to be wide-mouthed, otherwise, you’ll struggle to both get the beetroot into the jar and back out again when it’s time to eat it!  We try to aim for jars that have a capacity of about 600 millilitres.   We reuse jars many times, and keep them from self-preservation and also shop-bought items too.

Before you use your jar for your pickled beetroot it will need to be sterilized.  We heat the oven to 160 degrees and place the jars inside the oven for 15 minutes.  Your lids can be sterilized by boiling them in water on the stovetop for 10 minutes.  There’s more on sterilizing jars here.

Preparing beetroot for pickling

Clean, cook and peel your beetroot as we’ve described above.  Then you’ll want to unless these are small baby beets that you are pickling, cut or slice the beetroot into smaller sizes.  We alternate.  Sometimes we will slice and sometimes we will cut into chunks.

The pickling juice for beetroot

You can make the beetroot pickling juice earlier and put it to one side.  When you’ve mixed it all together you’ll need to simmer for 5-1o minutes to ensure all the flavours are mixed fully together.  You can simply use pickling vinegar, which you can pick up from most supermarkets or you can mix up a batch of your own recipe.  The River Cottage Handbook on Preserves has some great options here.  Alternatively, you can also add pickling spices that you can buy in health food stores or supermarkets.

Add your beetroot and the pickling juice to your jars

First of all, place your sliced or cut up beetroot in the jars.  Don’t jam it in too much as you need to also pour in the pickling juices.  Then add the pickling juice to the jar too, to about 1 centimetre below the top.  Check there are no air bubbles in and fit the lid.  Tightly.

In the meantime preheat your oven to 100 degrees and then place the jars inside the oven for 40 minutes.  At the end of this time remove the jars and leave them to cool on a chopping board.   The jars will be HOT. You’ll want to use a dishcloth, oven gloves, or the jar lifter that is part of our jam making kit is an essential tool when it comes to preserving beetroot.

This will heat treat your jars and beetroot and will form a vacuum ensuring that no air can enter the jars, providing the best most hygienic preservation of your beetroot possible.

Label your jars once they have cooled – don’t forget a date and what’s in the jars.

Leave your pickled beetroot for at least 2 weeks, but they will also last for around 12 months. Pickled beetroot jars are best stored in a cupboard out of the light.  Don’t forget that once you open a jar of your pickled beetroot you’ll need to refrigerate it.

Our favourite way to eat beetroot

We love to eat freshly roasted beetroot, but also have beetroot in a beetroot and feta salad.  However, my guilty secret is that pickled beetroot is my absolute favourite.  A couple of slices of thick white bread spread with slightly salted butter and then a later, or two of sliced pickled beetroot makes a fabulous, tasty sandwich!

Final words on preserving beetroot

Beetroot is a fabulously easy vegetable to grow, either in pots or directly into the ground.  It’s also a versatile vegetable when it comes to long term storage and retains many of the nutrients regardless of how you store it (so long as you store it well!).  Let us know how you get on preserving beetroot and which is your preferred preservation method!

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