How To Roast And Freeze Beets

How-to-roast-and-freeze-beets

For some reason beets seem to be a pretty divisive vegetable- you either like them or you think they taste like “dirt.” Personally, I don’t get it. I mean, we can buy beet sugar for pete’s sake.

But I’m the lone beet-liker (beet-liker? Do you think this phrase will catch on?) in my family. The kids won’t touch them and Brian merely puts up with them. So I don’t serve them often and I don’t grow a ton of them, just a couple of rows.

However, when those rows are ready to be harvested I have the dilemma of too many beets all at once for just little ol’ me and then none for the future months. Since a few small rows never made enough to be canned or pickled, I decided to try freezing some that I had roasted.

Surprisingly, they tasted just as good after a couple months in the freezer as they did the day I roasted them. So I made my favorite salad with them (Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese) and served it to company. Um, didn’t I just say beets are divisive…and I served a salad with beets to company? Yeah, I guess I didn’t get it- but I thought I was safe because they were gardeners, and don’t most gardeners grow beets?

Well, not the one sitting at my table. He promptly said, “Beets are the one vegetable I don’t eat” and proceeded to give me the dirt analogy.

That’s great – all the vegetables on the planet and I pick the one he didn’t eat. Of course I said he didn’t have to eat them, but he decided to try them. The verdict?

“These are the best beets I’ve ever eaten. They don’t taste like beets!”

Whatever that means. Now I just make sure to grow enough to be able to freeze small packages to last through the winter.


Here’s how to roast and freeze beets:

Note: I’m listing every step because I didn’t know how to prepare beets when I first started growing them and I’m sure that there are people out there who may be as clueless as I was…maybe? Of course, this is just one method for cooking beets, but many of the steps are the same no matter how you cook them.

  • Start by washing the beets thoroughly with a vegetable brush in order to get all the…umm…dirt off. (You know, one of the reasons I don’t get the dirt comment about beets is because other vegetables like carrots and potatoes grow in the dirt too- don’t they?).
  • Trim the greens off, leaving about an inch of the tops. Trim the roots as well.

  • Place the beets in a shallow baking dish and pour in about 1/4 cup of water. I suppose this isn’t true “roasting” like when we toss vegetables with olive oil (which you can do with beets, by the way… they get nice crispy edges which is great for that application, but not what I want on a salad…), but it’s like roasting beef, I guess. Or is it oven braising? We’ll just stick with roasting for now.

  • Cover well with foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the beets.

  • Check doneness by inserting a small knife into the thickest parts of the beets. The beets pictured, which are small to medium, took 45 minutes.

  • Cut the rest of the tops and bottoms off and skin the beets by pulling with a small knife. Some directions say to put gloves on and “rub the skins off” but that hasn’t worked well for me. And I don’t wear gloves- I just wash my hands afterwards and don’t have a problem with staining. Maybe because I’m only doing a small amount at a time?

  • Cut the beets into chunks or slices- however you want to serve them later. I like chunks that are easy to add to a salad.

One time, though, a few baggies got shoved in the back of my freezer and I found them a year later. I served them anyway and was shocked that they were still pretty tasty. However, a baggie I found after 1-1/2 years didn’t fare as well and the beets were shriveled and soggy. Of course this was before I had the chalkboard freezer organizer. I never find old packages shoved in the back anymore…

PRINT

Roasted Beets {to Eat Now or Freeze for Later}

  • beets
  • water
  1. Wash the beets thoroughly and trim the roots and greens off, leaving about an inch of the tops.
  2. Place the beets in a shallow baking dish and pour in about 1/4 cup of water.
  3. Cover well with foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the beets. To check if they’re done, insert a small knife into the thickest parts of the beets. If there are smaller beets cooking with larger ones, remove the beets as they finish cooking.
  4. Cut the rest of the tops and bottoms off and skin the beets by pulling it off with a small knife.
  5. Cut the beets into chunks or slices and serve, if desired. To freeze for later, place them in a baggie, remove as much air as possible, label and put in the freezer. Try to use within 6 months.

 

-Jami

This is linked to Real Food Wednesday

Comments

  1. I roast beets with garlic and olive oil. And this yr I finally put in a garden area. I never thought to freeze them tho. I love to use beets roasted this way in salads when tomatoes are too pricey or just plain not worth it cuz they are the hot house kind.

  2. Thank you for such great tutorials. I have to admit, I’m one of those people who think beets taste “earthy”…not necessarily like dirt, but definitely earthy. I craved them while I was pregnant with both of my babies. It’s weird, but every now and again, I get a hankering for them. They have to be pickled, served with cottage cheese and Thousand Island dressing…I know that’s crazy! Talk about cravings!

  3. This is a wonderful idea! Thanks so much…I have a whole row of beets that I need to put up.

    ~Julia

  4. My personal opinion is that people don’t know what they like when it comes to veggies like this because all they have to compare it to are the yucky old canned veggies that were popular when we were growing up… canned spinach anyone??

    My husband didn’t like them either until he tried them fresh, same with spinach… and my in-laws had fresh beets for the first time at our house a couple of years ago.

    I am glad your friend gave them a try… keep on converting them:)

  5. We’re all beet lovers at our house, Jami, but my guys won’t touch squash of any sort. (Hey, it leaves more for me.) I’ve never frozen beets and will have to give it a try.

  6. Susan Patton says:

    Thank you for this post! Just earlier tonight, I yanked an armload of beets out of my dad’s garden, but then realized I had no idea what to do with them. Can’t wait to try your idea!

  7. That’s the way it is at my house, too. No one but me likes beets… so I guess that just means more for me :)

    BTW… I love roasted beets, too.

  8. orchard_girl says:

    My husband plants beets every year in our garden and we always give them to our neighbor. This year I have vowed to learn how to cook and enjoy them. Thank you for the freezing tips. And the recipe.
    Heather K.

  9. Thank you for taking the time to post this – my family and I harvested 30 lbs of beets from our CSA fall garden event (along with 20 lbs of carrots, 40 lbs of onions and potatoes and pumpkins). Beets, although a childhood favorite canned and pickled, are a first for processing for me. I roasted all the beets as per your directions, but drizzled them with some olive oil as well. After they were cool I was able to rub all the skins loose. My two year old even asked for beets to take to school for the next day! Thank You!

  10. I love beets!! This is a great idea for storing any extra, although that hasn’t happened to us yet. We love a beet risotto. I have been having trouble with my seed germination though. Do you have any tips?

  11. Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says:

    Sherrin- Arrggg- it’s always hit-or-miss with getting beets to germinate for me. Sometimes there’s so many i’m cursing the thinning needed, and other times, nada. I know they don’t like summer sowings, so getting some for the fall garden is always a touchy thing for me. Wish I had some great tips for you!

    • Just found your site and I glad to know I can freeze beets! Here’s how I’ve had better luck with germination. Seed according to package directions. Cover the bed with thin burlap – I buy some off a roll at a garden center. Then water the bed through the burlap a while to soak it. The burlap keeps the soil from being disturbed over the seeds during watering and, more importantly, keeps the soil from drying out so fast later, which I think is what messes up germination. I keep watering the burlap each day as needed to keep the area underneath moist. When I find a number of sprouts I take it off. Hope it works for you!

  12. I don’t like beets, my husband does though and whenever my mother cooks them he gets his share. I’m going to suggest this recipe to her with the hope of getting him a share he can freeze and enjoy all year round. Weird enough I really like beet’s leaves as filling for pies, lasagna, buñuelos, empanadas, etc. So I look forward to my mother buying good leafy beets. As soon as we’re able to move from the apartment to a house, we’ll try growing some.

  13. I just read an article on what seemed helpful tips to jump start germination indoors, I don’t have a clue about vegetable gardens (my experience is limited to an apartment balcony) so I’ll let you be the judge, decide if it’s worth the try and then tell us about it http://www.canadiangardening.com/how-to/seeds/jump-start-seeds-with-gelatin/a/20027?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=cg_110125

  14. I love beats & have a bunch on hand from a friend’s CSA. I’m with you — I’m the only member of our family to like them. So glad they freeze well!

  15. Debbie the gardner says:

    I bought a 6 pack of beets, which had about 6-10 beets in each little pot, I soaked them in water and separated them, then planted them. At first they looked awful but I gave them some B-1 and they all perked up and now they are growing beautifully. It took about a week for them to perk up. I’m going to try the roast and freeze method. Thank you.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the tip- I’m glad to know I can freeze roasted beets. Here’s a tip for you- drop the roasted beets into a bowl of ice cold water immediately after roasting them, you can then slip the skin off with no problem. Place the bowl in the sink and have a clean bowl handy to drop the beets into.

  17. thanks for info on freezing beets. I cook them all the time but did not think about freezing them. Whats with us beet people… talk about passion!

    • Yeah – I just can’t understand why people don’t like them, I mean, they make sugar out of them for goodness sake. :)

      • In my experience most people who “don’t like beets” have only had two kinds of beets: unimproved commercially-canned (I have bad memories of lukewarm, watery canned beets sloshing around on a school lunch tray) or overgrown, too-long-stored, woody, bitter beets. I had a relative who considered it a “waste” if you picked a beet when it was smaller than a softball and often let them get much larger – while in my opinion they taste the sweetest and have the best texture when they’re closer to a golfball (the tiny beets from thinning the row are wonderful!) and definitely no larger than a tennis ball, and for me that’s the only time the greens are at all palatable since they get bitter as they get older and larger. I just can’t get next to bitter greens no matter how much cream sauce or vinegar you put on them. I like to use golden beets – the smaller the better – for serving to people who are not beet enthuiasts since they have much less earthiness, and there’s no red color to trigger the “aack! beets!” response. I like my little roasted beets cooled to room temperature, with the crumbled goat cheese and chopped walnuts but a balsamic/shallot/walnut-oil dressing – it’s especially pretty with the stripey beets. If you have access to a deep fryer, beet chips are pretty darn awesome; I have not been happy with baked ones though. I line my roasting pan with foil or parchment since if the pan cooks dry that caramelized beet juice can be a stinker to clean off. (On the other hand, I have had many people ask me “how can you not like eggplant/artichokes/kale” – kale is the big one lately, it’s very uncool to not like kale! – with complete shock because it’s _their_ favorite veggie. So I try not to be too unsympathetic to the non-fans… besides, it means more for me.)

        A tiny little nitpick, though: sugar beets and garden/table beets are only distant cousins now. I have eaten sugar beets (which look like parsnips on steroids) twice, out of curiosity/challenge, and they actually taste pretty nasty, sweet yes but also throatpuckeringly bitter! Garden beets, conversely, have been bred for flavor and nutrients rather than pure sugar content and are only about 3% sugar vs. sugar beets’ 20%; I have read recipes for making a sweet syrup from juiced/ground garden beets on one of those survivalist/”prepper” websites, but reportedly it tasted very strongly of beets and the process of neutralizing that was very involved.

  18. Thanks for the freezing info. This is my first year growing beets and have a bumper crop. I was always indifferent about them until adding to some roasted root veggies for Thanksgiving last year. I’ve been roasting them dry for salads or snacking. Just clean and toss in the oven. No dripping and no pan to clean up. The ice-water dunk does help with skinning too.

    • Really, Ken? You put the whole beets (with skins on) right on the oven rack like baking potatoes? I’ve never heard of beets cooked like that – I’m going to have to try it! Thanks for sharing that :)

  19. I LOVE beets!! I love them roasted and I stumbled across your blog looking for ways to preserve them roasted. I am going to try it =) I find beets are so versatile I don’t get why anyone wouldn’t like them at least cooked one way??! we made beet pasta ravioli the other day and it was fantastic!!!

  20. SammyStiles says:

    Can they be boiled and frozen?

    • Well, I haven’t tried it, but I would assume it would work the same. Just make sure the beets are still pretty firm before freezing.

      • SammyStiles says:

        Thanks : )
        I boiled some up yesterday…still lovely and firm for eating.
        Froze some, ate some…we’ll see what happens

  21. Thanks! This is great! I went looking on the internet for freezing roasted beets, specifically because I didn’t want to parboil them and I figured someone else had done this. I have the same issue as you — I’m the only beet-eater in my household and didn’t want this last little row to go to waste.

    I’m also happy to discover your blog! I love the tip about using a straw to vacuum-seal freezer bags. Like you, I’m not a big gadget fan, except I also cannot live without my (30-year-old) Cuisinart and microplane grater. (Got an immersion blender for a wedding present and returned it – maybe I’ll invest in one some day). Thanks again, and I look forward to checking out more of your posts.

    Caroline (urban homesteader in Nashville, TN)

    • So glad to have you here, Caroline! 30 year-old cuisinart? wow- hope mine last that long. And yeah for urban homesteading! :)

  22. Gayle Sankey says:

    Thanks for the information and the beautiful pictures. I can’t resist the sale price of beets right now and wondered if I could freeze them. I love to bake and cook and share my bounty with family members but still had a lot of beets left. Now I know I can freeze them.

  23. This is so helpful! I just got beets from my CSA and as someone new to the kitchen, I had no idea what to do with them. Is this the same roasted beet that typically pairs well with goat cheese?

    • Yep, sure is Morgan – in fact I linked to my favorite salad – Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese that I serve with an organ vinaigrette. Yum! :)

  24. Lori Davis says:

    Thanks so much for this vote of confidence that I can freeze my roasted beets. I want to savor them later, not force myself to eat them all now. I love roasted beets. On a short list of things that have surprised me in my 50s. Had them at a garden club recipe tasting and was amazed how wonderful they were. And could they be any easier to prepare? Don’t think so!

  25. Sandy Murray says:

    Thanks for the info. I was searching to see if I could freeze beets and found your site. I’m going to try freezing mine whole and see what happens. I just have the ones that didn’t look like they were ready when I pulled the first batch, so they only fill a quart size bag. I will let you know how that works out in case you may want to do the same sometime.

  26. We’re short on freezer space and long on canning supplies. I know we’d have to use a pressure canner, but have you tried roasting and then canning? Our first pass at boiling / canning beats was a bit bitter.

    Ann from NE Portland OR

    • I haven’t, Ann. I’ve actually only ever tried canning pickled beets. There might be something out there, though, for canning roasted beets – I just haven’t seen it. Sorry I couldn’t be more help!

    • yes, absolutely, you can raost till done.. dunk into a pot/bowl of icy cold water to seperate the skins for easier peeling, then follow your recipe for canning… less messy than boiling the beets

  27. How do you cook beets that have bee frozen ?

    • I cook & peel them before freezing, Ben, so all I have to do is defrost them to use in a salad, which is how I mostly eat them. If you want them warm, just heat gently until the temperature you’d like!

  28. I know I’m late to the party, but that’s the great thing about google and blogs. “freezing roasted beets” produced your answer and I am elated to know this. Sometimes, well usually, I cook more than I use right away, and this is a great way to ensure freshness and reduce waste! Thank you!

  29. PS – I’m also going to also try this with sweet potatoes (i’m traveling for a week and trying not to throw away everything in my fridge) and see if they fare as well; we’ll see…

  30. My cook book says to just freeze them raw (washed and trimmed). First time I’ve tried it but they do seem rather soft now I’ve defrosted them. OK after cooking though. Roasting sounds a great idea so might try that next time – guess it depends if you have more time to cook them before or after freezing.

    I like them raw and grated in a salad or even a sandwich, but looks like this won’t work after freezing!

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