Can you freeze beets and how long do they last?
By Amy P
Go to www.pickyourown.org . This site tells you everything about freezing and canning. I use this site regularly.
Since beets are almost exclusively used in a cooked form, which means that losing the raw texture is less important, they do freeze fairly well. Here's how to freeze beets to store in your freezer at home.
Step 1 - Selecting the beets
The most important step! Select deep, uniformly-red, tender, young beets. You need beets that are fresh and crisp. Limp, old beets will make nasty tasting canned beets. Guests will probably throw them at you. Select firm, crisp beets. Remove and discard any soft, diseased, spotted and chewed up beets.
How many beets and where to get them
You can grow your own, pick your own, or buy them at the grocery store. About 7 pounds of 2- to 2-inch diameter beets makes about 8 pints of beets.
Step 2 - Trim the ends and cut into smaller pieces
Just take a sharp knife and trim off beet tops, leaving an 1/2 to 1 inch of stem and roots to prevent bleeding of color.
Step 3 -Wash the beets!
I'm sure you can figure out how to scrub the beets in plain cold or lukewarm water using your hands or a vegetable brush. It's easier to wash them after you've cut off the tops.
Step 4 - Cook the beets
Put similar sized beets (hopefully, they're all of a similar size so they take the same time to cook) together with enough boiling water to cover them and cook until tender (usually for small beets 25 to 30 minutes; for medium beets 45 to 50 minutes, in an open pot, or 10 - 15 minutes in a pressure cooker). Drain and discard the liquid.
Step 5 - Cool the beets
You can pour ice over them, or just let them cool on their own. It's just to cool them enough so you can handle them to remove the skins, stems, roots and then slice or quarter them.
Step 6 - Trim, peel and slice
Trim off the roots and stems. The skins should easily slide off. Slice the beets into 1-inch slices. You can leave the beets whole (if they are small, say 1 inch or less), or quarter them or slice them into 1-inch slices.
Step 7 - Package, label and freeze
Package in ziploc freezer bags, or better, in a vacuum food saver bag. Label; e.g., "Beets" and the current date. Seal and freeze.
Beets should be cooked in skins until done. Pull skins off and slice or quarter. Put a small amount of the juice from the cooking of the beets into the container with the sliced beets. I usually place them in plastic freezer bags. They will keep for at least 2 yrs as long as there is not a hole in the bag. Be sure to press all the air from the plastic bag. They can be made into "just heat and season" and eat or into vinegar and sugar or splenda recipes. I some times put a sprinkle of cinnamon and stir in a little splenda and corn starch and vinegar and heat until cornstarch is clear.
I do most of the things listed here, but I water or juice pack them in zip bags. When you seal them in the bags make sure you get all the air out. These water packed beets are great and I've used them up to 2 years after making them. Only if the bag hasn't been broken. I make juice or water packed beets when I freeze them. This gives me the option of plain or pickled, when they are thawed. I use quart bags that way if I want more I can use more. They also thaw easier.
To make pickled beets and eggs, I heat the whole bag or more bags of beets with vinegar and sugar, then add the eggs to the hot mix and refrigerate. You must taste this mix to get the right amount of vinegar and sugar. When eggs are put in the hot mix, they soak up the color and taste faster. We like ours quite puckery, more so than most people. My choice is no spices with mine. I prefer the plain sugar and vinegar flavor. I also don't use salt. I don't think mine need it. If I have it I like red wine vinegar.
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