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Beets are Usually Better Canned

October 2, 2011

According to one of my all time favorite books on food preservation*, “beets are usually better canned.”  Right about now I’d call that an understatement. 

Last Spring when the beet harvest filled the kitchen, this harvest manager launched into serious preservation mode.  Beet roots will actually store for a good while in a cool place, but for some reason it seemed like a good idea to freeze the abundance.    I cooked them long enough to soften the skins, then peeled, quartered, and froze the quartered  beets in freezer bags.

One evening last week we cooked up some of the frozen beets for dinner.  The results were not satisfying.  These beets were grey and flabby, neither pretty nor tasty.  Alas, these beets would surely have been better canned.

Here’s my guess.  Most of us are not going to grow enough beets that we need worry about dramatic preservation methods.  Storing them in a cool dark place will work for most of us.  You don’t even have to wash them first.  Just cut off the tops, leaving an inch or two above the beet, and you’re good to go.

*Stocking Up by Carol Hupping and the staff of the Rodale Food Center.

Stocking Up notes that beets freeze better when thoroughly cooked first.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    October 3, 2011 8:15 am

    Any suggestions for canning? We canned beets this year and when we popped a jar open to put on a salad last night, weren’t too happy with the results there, either. Perhaps the quality of the beet wasn’t good to start with (might have gotten too big), but I also wonder if there was something we should have done differently in processing.

    • Cindy Shamel permalink*
      October 3, 2011 9:58 am

      You may have already hit on your answer, as younger beets do preserve better than older beets. Since I don’t know what you didn’t like about your results, I can’t say for sure how to correct it. I can say that it is desirable to leave an inch or so of the tops and the root on when cooking the beets. This limits bleed and helps preserve color. Once the whole beet is cooked through, then slip the skins and slice. Hope this helps.

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