preserving beetroot

The Best Ways of Preserving Beetroot [Store Cooked Beetroot + Raw]

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.  We’ve covered storing raw beetroot and storing cooked beetroot as well as answering questions about storing pickled beetroot and beetroot juice.


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 it throughout the year. If you’re planning on preserving beetroot, then you’ll need a preserving kit (this one is everything you need and easy to use)

Why You Should Be Preserving Beetroot

Many vegetables will freeze well, but others work better if you store them in different ways.  Here are the different 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 instances of beetroot preservation, you will need to

How 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.

How to 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

This preserving kit includes everything you need to preserve beetroot (and other fruits and vegetables)

Bring the pan of water to a 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.

When the beetroot is cooked drain off the water, or pour the beets into a metal colander.  If you have a silicone colander, then it may be stained by the colour of the beet.

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 wear 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!

If you’re looking for a great recipe for beetroot then this smoked mackerel and beet salad is just fabulous.

The best 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 the best ways in which beetroot can be preserved.  We’ll first cover how to preserve raw beetroot and then how to preserve cooked beetroot.

How to store raw Beetroot

You can store raw beetroot in several ways – oftentimes the best way to store root vegetables is to leave them in the ground until you are ready to cook them, but it’s also possible to lift the beetroot and store it out of the ground.  Here are the best ways to store beetroot when it is raw.

Leave the raw 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 the 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

Raw 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 air holes, then put them in the vegetable crisper area.

How to freeze raw beetroot

Technically you can freeze raw beetroot, however, we don’t recommend freezing beetroots.  The beetroot freezes well, but upon defrosting they have a grainy texture which isn’t pleasant.

How to Store Cooked Beetroot

If you’re going to store beetroot for the longer term, then the best way to do this is to cook the beetroot first, we will first overview the best way to cook beetroot and then how to keep cooked beetroot.

How to cook beetroot

While we’re big fans of roasting beetroot, the best way to cook beetroot when you want to store it for a longer time is to boil it.  Here’s the best way to cook beetroot to store it.

Cut off the leaves and foliage off the beetroot.  

Get rid of any clumps of mud and soil.  I tend to GENTLY use a plastic nail brush to rub off the dirt.

Place 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 beetroot. 

The cleanest and easiest way to peel a beetroot is to wear (clean) rubber washing up gloves, or put your hands inside plastic bags (otherwise you will be the red hand gang for a long time!).  The beetroot peel should simply slide off.  If you don’t manage to put your hands inside place bags or gloves, and they do get stained with beetroot juice, then drizzle lemon juice on your hands and it will help remove the red stains.

That’s it.  Your beetroot is now cooked and ready for how you’re going to eat or store it.  There are several ways of storing freshly cooked beetroot.

How to store cooked beetroot in the fridge

Before storing beetroot once cooked in the fridge make sure it has completely cooled.  You should try and store cooked beetroot in the fridge within two hours of cooking. Cooked beetroot that is stored in an airtight container will last for longer.  Airtight plastic containers are the best storage for cooked beetroot.  You can also use cling film, but we don’t recommend single-use plastic unless you have no alternative.  Cooked beetroot will last for about 5 days in the fridge and maintain its taste.  Beetroot can store for longer than 5 days in the fridge but starts to lose its taste and fresh flavour.

Freezing cooked beetroot – how to freeze beetroot

A secondary method of how to keep beetroot after cooking is to freeze it.  The method of freezing beetroot is the same as freezing other root vegetables.  

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 food dehydrator (buy our readers favourite food dehydrator here   – don’t worry it says fruit, it does vegetables as well!).  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 vegetables that you can dehydrate a longer usable life or check out these top picks from our guide.


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.

If you don’t have jars ready – then this selection is a great way to get started. 

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 5-10 minutes to ensure all the flavours are mixed fully together. 

The primary liquid for pickling beetroot is vinegar and it is extremely easy to learn about storing cooked beetroot in vinegar

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 pickling recipe suggestions.  Pick up your copy 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.

How to store pickled beetroot

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.  Pickling has to be our favourite method of cooked beetroot storage.  Don’t forget that once you open a jar of your pickled beetroot you’ll need to refrigerate it.

FAQ’s on Preserving Beetroot

Got questions about preserving beetroot or storing beetroot? Or want to know something specific about the storage of beetroot and we haven’t answered your questions?  Check out our frequently asked questions about beetroot preservation below, or ask us yours in the comments.

Can you freeze beetroot?

Yes, you can easily freeze raw beetroot.  Beetroot freezes better when it has been cooked.  The texture of defrosted raw beetroot isn’t particularly pleasant.

Can you freeze raw beetroot?

Yes, you can freeze raw beetroot, but if you freeze beetroot before cooking it, the texture of the vegetable can be unpleasant when you defrost it.  We already cooked beetroot before freezing it.

How do you store cooked beetroot?

There are several methods of storing booked beetroot – you can store cooked beetroot in the fridge, beetroot can be stored in the freezer.  You can also store cooked beetroot in a pickling liquid.

Do you have to put liquid in with cooked beetroot kept in fridges?

If you’re storing cooked beetroot, with no pickling agent, in the fridge, then you should, first of all, ensure that it is in an airtight container. If your container is an airtight container then you do not need to include liquid in with cooked beetroot kept in fridges.

Can you preserve beetroot without vinegar?

The word preserve means ” to conserve or make lasting” – and so in that sense, yes you can preserve beetroot without vinegar – by freezing beetroot, or by dehydrating it.  However, when it comes to the use of the word preserve when it’s used with beetroot, it generally means to make it last longer by the use of a liquid – which is usually vinegar.

Can you freeze cooked beetroot?

Yes.  Cooked beetroot can easily be frozen.  We’ve covered the best way of freezing beetroot earlier in this article.

Can you freeze pickled beetroot?

Technically yes, you can freeze pickled beetroot, but it’s more a question of why.  Pickling is an alternative method of preservation to freezing.  The vinegar in the pickling liquid acts as a preservative and will 

Can you freeze beetroot juice?

Beetroot juice tends to lose its flavour after 2-3 days and it should be kept in the fridge.   To keep beetroot juice for longer you can freeze it.  Beetroot juice will freeze for up to a year.  We find the best way to freeze beetroot juice is to pour it into ice cube trays.  Once the beetroot juice has frozen for 24 hours, remove it from the tray and store it in airtight plastic bags or airtight plastic containers in the freezer.  Defrost in the fridge before use and use within the same day of defrosting.

Can you freeze roasted beetroot?

Yes, you can freeze roasted beetroot.  Freeze roasted beets by letting them cool after roasting, place the whole tray in the freezer for 24 hours.  Then remove and place the frozen roasted beets in an airtight container.  Use the portions that you require, remove them from the freezer and reheat for about 20 minutes in the oven, or you can microwave (covered) for 5 minutes.

How long can you keep cooked beetroot?

Cooked beetroot will last in the fridge for around 5 days.  If you want your cooked beetroot to last longer then consider freezing it.

How long can you keep cooked beetroot in the fridge?

We keep cooked beetroot in the fridge for about 5 days.

Does cooked beetroot go off?

Yes, cooked beetroot will go off.  Each day that you don’t use it means that it will lose its taste and flavour, so if you’re not going to use it within 3-5 days consider freezing it (as soon as it’s cool after cooking).  The easiest way to tell if a cooked beetroot has gone off is to look at it and smell it.  If it smells bad or looks bad, don’t taste it.  

Can you freeze shop bought cooked beetroot?

Yes, you can freeze shop-bought cooked beetroot, however, shop-bought cooked beetroot is usually sealed into vacuum-packed plastic which has a long “best before date”.  Check the date and the best place to leave this shop bought cooked beetroot for a longer use time is in its original packaging – stored in a cool dry place in your kitchen or pantry.

Does beetroot have to be cooked?

Beetroot does NOT have to be cooked.  Beetroot has a high sugar content and is delicious when eaten raw.  Try grating it and adding it to a salad.  

How long does pickled beetroot last?

An unopened jar of pickled beetroot will last up to 18 months.   The introduction of air to the jar once they have been opened reduces this time, once you have opened a jar of pickled beetroot keep it in the fridge.  If you have bought pickled beetroot then it will be good until its best before date (and often longer), but please store it in line with manufacturers guidelines.

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, we tend to grow lots of them and so learning how to store cooked beets was a necessity for us.  We also love beetroot as a vegetable throughout the year, so keeping cooked beetroot for longer is also a must for us.  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!).  We hope this guide on how to store raw beetroot and how to store freshly cooked beetroot has been useful for you.  Let us know how you get on preserving cooked beetroot and which is your preferred preservation method!

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