Beetroots (or beets) are a popular root plants with strong flavor that are used around the world in many dishes. They are relatively easy to grow, as well as to cook. When cooking with beets, you may end up with more food than you want, so you may want to find some ways to preserve the cooked beets. Many people say freezing is an option. So, can you freeze cooked beets? And how to do it the right way?
Can you freeze cooked beets?
Absolutely, you can freeze cooked beets and they can be left inside the fridge for up to 8 or 9 months.
The most common type of beets you can freeze is red beet. But, you can also find many other color variants in grocery store or farmer market.
These variants include yellow-orange golden beets, white beets, or even multicolored beets, like the Chioggia beet with striped pattern is a striped variety. The Chioggia is a good choice for making salad.
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Are cooked beets healthy, why?
Beetroots bring lots of health benefits. While the cooking process will make the beets lose some of the vitamins and minerals, generally speaking, you’ll still get enough nutrients.
Also, some cooking methods keep the nutrients better than other. For example, steaming beets is one of the best cooking methods to keep most of the nutrients after the beets are done cooking.
Here are some of the benefits of cooked beets:
- Have lots of nutrient, vitamins, and minerals but low in calories and fat: You can find almost all the vitamins in beets.
- Help balancing blood pressure: Beets can lower blood pressure by about 4 to 10 mmHg in a few hours thanks to having high amount of nitrate. So, it can reduce risk of heart disease.
- Improve digestive health: Beets have lots of dietary fiber, which help improve digestion and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases.
- Good for weight loss: Beets are high in water and low in calories.
- Can easily incorporate into your diet: They are delicious and versatile, so you can add them to your meals as beetroot salad, juice, dip, beetroot leaves or in forms of roasted, steamed, and pickled.
How to freeze cooked beets?
For better results, you should choose the beets that are heavy, fresh, unwilted green leaves and the green tops still attached.
Here are the steps to freeze cooked beets:
Preparing the beets
- Cut the green parts away from the beets and keep about 1 to 2 inches of stem.
- Cut away the long root ends of the beets and keep about 1 to 2 inches.
- Wash the whole beets. You can scrub the beets with a vegetable brush if you want.
Cooking the beets
- Prepare a large bowl of ice and water and set aside
- Fill a pot with water, and then bring to a boil.
- Put the beets in the pot to cook. Keep in mind that different size beets take different time to cook. Long beets can take about an hour to cook, while medium sized ones take about 45 minutes and small ones take about 25 minutes.
- Once the beets are tender, drain them, then immediately dip them in the ice-water to halt the cooking.
Freezing the beets
- Cut away the root and stems of the beets, then peel the skin off. You can use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin if it doesn’t come off easily, just remember to use light force. In the mean time, try to wash away the beet juice, you may want to use gloves during this process.
- Slice the beets in about 0.25-inch-thick sections, then dice or cut in quarters.
- Put the beets in airtight bags, then put them into a freezer. Remember to label the bags with names and dates.
Can you freeze beets without cooking them?
Raw, whole beets can’t freeze well. The freezing process will make while beets’ texture grittier and grainier.
This is because the freezing process will cause the water inside the beets to freeze as well and form ice crystals. These ice crystals can rupture the beets’ cell walls since ice takes up more spaces than water with the same amount.
With some vegetables like corns, the effects aren’t noticeable because they are high in starch and low in water. But with beets, which are high in water, the effect is more noticeable.
However, if you first slice, dice, grate, or shred the raw beets before freezing, the effects will be minimized.
With that being said, here are the steps to freeze raw beets without cooking:
- Cut the raw beets into smaller pieces, the smaller the better. There are a lot of ways to perform the step, such as shedding, mincing, dicing, slicing, grating, crushing, etc.
- Put the cut beets into cookie trays, cover them up, then put the trays into the freezer.
Tips for cooking and freezing cooked beets
- Choose the heavy, fresh beets with the greens attached. After cooking the beets, you can save the greens for salad if they are fresh. Sauté or steam them like spinach and soak with a little vinegar. Or cut them into small pieces and add them to salads.
- Use gloves to protect your hands from staining when cooking beets as they can be messy.
- To save time for cooking, you can use a pressure cooker but remember to read the cooker’s instruction carefully.
- If you want to keep the red brightness of the beets, pour one or two tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar to the cooking water.
- While putting beets in freezer, you should use a vacuum sealer to get as much air out as possible to avoid freezer burn. You can use a straw to suck the air out, then quickly remove the straw and seal the bag.
- Label and write date on freezer bag to remind you when is the expiration date because beets will stay in freezer for 9 months or more.
Further reading: The 7 Best Small Freezers 2021
Is it better to freeze raw or cooked beets?
It is better to freeze cooked beets. T raw beets do not freeze well as they can become graining once frozen. You should pick beets that are small and same size, with no blemish. Then, fully cook them prior to freezing. You should prepare and cook the whole and unpeeled beets.
How to thaw frozen beets?
The best way is to transfer the frozen beets from freezer to fridge. Let them thaw overnight. After thawing, beets can be eaten cold, used in salads or cooked other dishes.
Reheating the beets before cooking will make them become mushy or soggy.
How long can cooked beets last after being thawed?
Once being frozen and thawed, cooked beets can stay good in fridge for about 3 days. After that, it can go bad and not good for your health.
If you use the microwave or cold water to thaw them, your cooked beets should be eaten immediately.
How long can cooked beets stay good at room temperature?
Cooked beets can be left at room temperature for about 2 or 3 hours as the bacteria will grow quickly at 40 °F and 140 °F. After 3 hours, the beets are not good for eating anymore and they should be discarded.
How to tell if cooked beets go bad?
Once the beets turn bad, you can easily find the signs. The simplest way is to smell and look at the beets. Spoiled beets should be discarded when they have an off smell or appearance as well as the taste was not the same as before.
Overall, you can freeze cooked beets and keep them for up to 8 months. For raw beets, cutting the beets into smaller pieces is necessary so that the beets can be frozen evenly without losing textures.
1. Can You Freeze Beets without Cooking Them?, backyardhomesteadhq.com, Retrieved on Nov. 9, 2021
2. How to Freeze Blanched or Roasted Beets, Diana Rattray, Jul. 17, 2019