Beets are healthy vegetables with a penchant for boosting athletic performance, reducing blood pressure, and improving digestion. Beets also contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that can help prevent cancer. They are great on salads and can serve as a condiment in smoothies.
For most people, beets are the one vegetable they do not eat because it can taste like dirt if not properly washed. If you are a great lover of beets and you were wondering how you could preserve your beets and still keep them fresh in the winter season. Here’s a way to do that.
Can you freeze beets? Yes, you can. But don’t freeze your beets raw as the quality would degrade very quickly. There are various ways to freeze beets which we will mention here later. Freezing your beets would keep them in top quality for 6 – 9 months. The freezing action doesn’t change the taste or quality of the beets. Freezing keeps them fresh till you are ready to use them.
According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, the best way of preserving beets is by boiling. Well not just by boiling them alone, some processes have to be carried out before and after boiling, so that the beets freeze well.
How to Freeze Beets
This is the easiest way to freeze beets as the risk of the beets turning black after peeling is greatly reduced.
Step 1: Cutting and Washing
Pick beets that are of uniform sizes, because the sizes determine how long they have to be boiled for.
Beets have greens that are also edible. But, we need to cut them off as the greens on top can make the beets go bad faster. Cut the greens off the beet and then settle down to wash them. If you have a vegetable brush, That’s great, but if you don’t, just make sure you wash the beets thoroughly.
Step 2: Boiling
Beets can be steamed instead of boiled in water like potatoes. Some people might refer to this process as blanching. Well, they are similar the only difference is that we are cooking the beets till they get done. In blanching, you only boil for about 10 minutes maximum to stop the ripening process.
Boil the beets till they are fork-tender. Stick a fork into the thickest part of the beets to check this. If the beets are medium-sized it should be done in about 40 – 45 minutes. After boiling, wait till they cool down to a temperature that you are comfortable handling. Or you could dip them in cold water if you are pressed for time.
Step 3: Peeling and Slicing
I would advise that you get gloves for this part, as the beets would stain your fingers. It can be hard to wash off. Also do not use your favorite kitchen equipment especially, if they are not bleach-resistant.
The beets, after being boiled, should be very easy to peel. Just press the beets with your fingers and watch the peels come off easily. Slicing the beets isn’t a chore either. You can decide to cut them into slices, cubes, or chunks. Whichever catches your fancy. Most people prefer them in chunks as that’s what goes on salads.
Step 4: Pre-freeze/Flash-Freeze
This process can be skipped if you don’t mind your beets clumping together as they freeze. It makes for easy usage of the beets as well. You do not have to thaw a whole pack to get the few chunks you need for your salad.
Re-freezing can greatly reduce the quality of food items. For some, it can ruin them entirely. Beets can be flash-frozen by spreading the slices or chunks individually on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. You can then leave it in the freezer for a few hours to freeze.
Step 5: Storage and Freezing
You are almost done with the whole process. Put the half-frozen slices of beets into Ziploc bags or airtight freezer bags.
I have a trick for removing all the excess air from the bags, seal the bags all way but leave a little space, just enough to fit a straw. With the straw, suck out all the air, remove the straw and quickly seal it off. Don’t forget to label the bags so that you can keep track of how long it has been stored.
How to Reheat Frozen Beets
Pull your frozen beets out of the freezer. Put the beets into a microwave-safe container. Add some water (little, not too much), before covering it. Heat for about 5 minutes or just use your discretion in relation to the power of your microwave.
You can also pull the beets out of the freezer and leave them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. There is no need to reheat thawed beets as they can be eaten like that.
How to Know When Beets Go Bad?
Fresh beets are always firm to the touch. When the beets start to get soft, that’s an indication that you should use them. But when you notice that the beets are already way too soft, mushy, or limp then it’s time to discard them. Spoiled food is not healthy and should not be consumed.