Beets are root vegetables that have been grown around the world for centuries. Popular in foods, drinks, and even cosmetics, you might be wondering if beets ever go bad. We’ll dive into that topic today.
Beets will go bad over time. Ways you can tell if your beet has gone bad are the presence of mold or mildew, a shriveled or wrinkled appearance, soft to the touch, and a bad odor. If you store beets in the pantry or on the counter, they are good for about 3 to 5 days. If you store beets in the refrigerator, they will last about 2 weeks. If you decide to freeze beets, they can last for up to 8 months.
Now that we’ve briefly discussed the shelf lives associated with each storage method, let’s get a closer look into each category of storage, and how it affects a beet’s shelf life.
Do Beets Go Bad? How Long Do Beets Last?
Like any fruit or vegetable, beets will go bad over time. Below are the three main ways to preserve beets. Each method will go into greater detail as to how long beets will last using this method.
How Long Do Beets Last Outside?
If you grow your own beets outside, you can leave them in the ground for as long as the temperatures are cooler, around 30°. As the weather gets warmer, you will want to harvest beets before the spring leaves emerge.
Once harvested, beets can stay in your pantry at room temperatures for about three to five days. As the days progress, the beet skins may begin to soften.
If you live in Northern areas and have a root cellar, they can be stored there for longer periods of time. In cool, dark environments, beets can last for two to five months.
How Long Do Beets Last in the Fridge?
Beets can be stored with or without the greens. If you store beets in the refrigerator with the greens still attached, they can last for roughly two weeks.
To get the most out of your refrigeration, store freshly harvested beets in plastic bags. Washing is not necessary at this stage, but you will want to wash them just before you use them.
If you buy a can of beets and decide to store them in the refrigerator, they can last for three to four days. Make sure to place the beets in a storage container, and provide an air-tight lid.
How Long Do Beets Last in the Freezer?
If you have some leftover beets and would like to freeze them, it is definitely a possibility. You will want to take special precautions, however, to prevent freezer burn.
Beets that are properly prepared for freezing can last for up to 8 months. That being said, it is important to extract as much liquid from the beet as possible before they go into the freezer. This will help retain the texture of the beet once you decide to thaw them out again.
One of the most popular methods of freezing beets is to cook or blanche them, cool them in ice, cut and peel them, then store and label them.
So, now that you know of the most typical ways to store beets (as well as how their shelf life is affected), let’s look at ways you can tell beets are fresh, or whether they have gone bad.
How To Tell If Beets Have Gone Bad / How To Know Beets Are Fresh
After you brought home your beets and have had them around for a few days, you begin to notice changes in your beets. Are they going bad? How can you tell? Below are three major areas to look at when considering whether your beets have gone bad or not:
- Appearance: As your beets start to break down, you will see them begin to shrivel up. Mold and mildew may begin to grow on the beet. This is a dead giveaway sign that the beet is no good.
- Touch: Your beets will begin to soften and shrivel as they deteriorate. If your beets are beginning to get squishy or wrinkled, you’ll want to consider composting them.
- Smell: If your beets begin to give off a bad smell, it is best not to use them.
Now that you know the signs to look for when determining whether beets have gone bad or not, you can decide whether to throw the beet away or compost it.. On the other hand, how can you tell if your beets are fresh? Fresh beets will be firm in texture; smooth skinned and will not have any evidence of mold or mildew.
How to Store Beets?
Beets can be stored a few different ways. Depending on how soon you will need to use them, the best rule of thumb for optimal storage is to aim for a cool, dark environment.
- Room Temperature: Beets can be stored on the counter, in a vegetable drawer or the pantry for up to 5 days.
- Refrigerator: Fresh and canned beets can be stored in the refrigerator for around 3 to 4 days.
- Freezer: Fresh beets can be frozen to help preserve them for longer periods of time, up to 8 months. It is recommended that the beets are cooked first, though.
Can You Freeze Beets? How?
Beets can be stored in the freezer if you want to use them at a later time. Below are the recommendations on how to properly freeze beets:
- Clean and Cook: Keep an inch or two of the greens attached to the beets to help prevent them from “bleeding” their bright, red colors. Add either vinegar or about ¼ cup of lemon juice to boiling water to also help prevent bleeding. Cook beets for about 30-60 minutes, or until they are soft enough to gently pierce with a fork.
- Trim and Peel: After the beets have cooled, remove the stems and roots. Peeling the skin should be fairly easy.
- Slice: You can cut, slice or dice the beets into the desired shape. Dab any remaining moisture with a paper towel.
- Pack: Place beet pieces into a freezer bag and label. Make sure there is as little air in the bag as possible.
And that’s it! You’re ready to store your beets in the freezer.
How to Thaw Beets?
Thawing your frozen beets isn’t as hard as it might look. Simply remove the beets from the freezer and let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
If the beets were cooked beforehand, there is a possibility that the beets will be mushy. It is not recommended to place beets in the microwave on defrost.
Frequently Asked Questions About Beets
Do Organic Beets Last Longer Than Non-Organic Beets? This may be a question you have, as some non-organic beets may contain additional chemicals or preservatives when packaged. As a general rule, however, all beets will last for about the same time, regardless of whether they are organic or not.
Will Hot Climates Make Beets Go Bad Faster? Anytime the weather is warmer, there is a greater chance of bacteria and mold growth. For those reasons, beets that are stored in cooler weather are likely to last longer than if they were stored in warmer weather, at room temperature.
Beets are a wonderful root vegetable that is enjoyed around the world in many different dishes. They’re good for about 3 days in the pantry, about 2 weeks in the fridge and 8 months in the freezer. Proper storage techniques are important, so keeping them in an air-sealed container is key. Do you like beets? Let us know in the comments below.