Selecting High Quality Beets: Buy beets for freezing with the tops still on. Crisp greens are a good indicator the beets are fresh. Beets should be uniformly red and free from visible damage. Small beets tend to be tender and less woody. Home grown beets should be left in the ground until fall and pulled up immediately prior to freezing.
Preparing for Freezing: Scrub beets and sort them according to size. Cut the tops off, leaving an inch or two of the stem to prevent beets from bleeding while cooking. Leave roots intact.
Blanching Time: Beets will freeze best when cooked thoroughly until "fork-tender". Cook in boiling water-25 to 30 minutes for small beets and 45 to 50 minutes for larger beets. After cooling, slip off skins and remove stems and tap roots. If desired, dice or cut into slices for freezing. An alternative method is to clean them, removing tops and roots, and bake them at 400º until tender (approximately 1 hour for 2 1/2 to 3 inch beets).
Best Freezing Method(s):
Suitable Packaging: Freezer containers should be moisture and vapor resistant and should not be prone to cracking or breaking at low temperatures. Containers should provide protection against absorbing flavors or odors and should be easy to label. Freeze beets in rigid container made from plastic or glass, or in freezer-grade plastic bags or heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Maximum Storage Time: 10 to 12 months at 0ºF.
Thawing: Beets can be added to dishes for cooking directly from the freezer without thawing.
Tips & Shortcuts: Beet greens are edible, so when removing the tops from beets, don't forget to save the greens. Store them in a cold part of the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Refrigerating Beets: Leave the roots and 1 to 2 inches of the stems intact for refrigerating raw beets. Brush off dirt, but do not wash until using. Pat dry and place in a perforated plastic bag with a moist paper towel. Refrigerate for 4 to 8 weeks. Cooked beets will last 3 to 5 days.
Whenever I grow beets in my garden, I harvest the large outer leaves to eat or can before the beets are ready to pick. Once the beets have matured and it is time to harvest them, I again can the leaves separately from the beets, of course. That means that from 1 planting, I get 3 yields, two of greens and one of beets. Beet greens taste like Swiss Chard when cooked. The young leaves can be put raw in salads, and are often included in Mesclun salad mixes (baby greens) because of their wonderful taste and nutritional value. (06/17/2006)
I froze beets last fall and now when I make them they seem to be all mushy. Can anyone tell me why. (01/04/2009)
To Ginger: Did you freeze raw beets? I hear they get mushy if frozen. Did you get all the air out of the container? Did they thaw and re-freeze? Were they really old beets? Different things can effect texture. Other than that beets are supposed to freeze well. (01/06/2009)
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