Beets are a versatile and nutritious root vegetable that can be prepared in many ways. One common preparation method is boiling beets, which helps break down their tough outer skin and brings out their sweet, earthy flavor. Many people wonder if you can boil beets and then freeze them for later use. The short answer is yes, you can definitely boil and freeze beets for future cooking and baking needs.
Benefits of Freezing Boiled Beets
There are several advantages to boiling and freezing beets:
- Saves prep time – Boiling beets takes time, so having pre-cooked frozen beets ready to go saves you the step of having to boil them each time you want to use them.
- Longer shelf life – Properly frozen cooked beets will keep for 6-12 months in the freezer, much longer than fresh beets will last.
- Maintains texture – Beets frozen soon after cooking maintain their texture better than beets frozen raw and cooked later.
- Easy to portion – Frozen beets are easy to divide into ready-to-use portions for recipes.
- Saves nutrients – Beets’ nutrients can degrade over time after cooking. Freezing cooked beets locks in nutrients.
Having a stash of frozen boiled beets in your freezer makes it easy to add them to recipes like soups, stews, smoothies, baked goods, salads and more!
How to Boil and Freeze Beets
Follow these simple steps for successfully freezing cooked beets:
- Choose fresh, firm beets. Avoid beets that are soft, shriveled or have blemishes.
- Trim beet greens to within 1-2 inches of the top. Scrub beets under cool running water to remove dirt.
- Place beets in a pot and cover with water by 1-2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beets are fork tender, 30-60 minutes depending on size.
- Drain beets and let cool until easy to handle. Slip off skins by rubbing gently with paper towels.
- Cut cooled beets into 1/2 inch cubes or slices. Portion into freezer bags or containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
- Seal bags, pressing out excess air. Freeze for up to 12 months.
Be sure beets are completely cooled before freezing, as freezing warm food decreases quality and shelf life. freezing time: cooked beets will freeze completely solid in 2-3 hours.
Tips for Freezing Beets
- Choose cubes vs slices – Cubed beets freeze more compactly and break apart more easily when frozen.
- Blanch before freezing – Blanching helps preserve color and texture. Boil 2 minutes, cool in ice bath.
- Use vacuum sealer – Vacuum sealing excludes air and prevents freezer burn, improving quality.
- Freeze in broth – For better texture, freeze in beet broth or juices instead of water.
- Avoid overcrowding – Spread pieces in single layer on tray and freeze individually before bagging.
How to Use Frozen Beets
Frozen beets are ready to use in any recipe calling for cooked beets. Here are some easy ways to use them:
- Soups – Add to vegetable, lentil, bean or beet soup.
- Smoothies – Blend into fruit smoothies for color and nutrients.
- Salads – Toss into spinach salads, grain bowls or veggie salads.
- Roast veggies – Mix with potatoes, carrots, peppers and olive oil.
- Bake into muffins, breads and cakes – Add to batter or dough.
- Pickle – Use instead of fresh beets to make pickled beets.
Frozen beets should be thawed before using in recipes. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or under cold running water. Cook thawed beets until heated through.
Storage Time for Frozen Beets
Properly frozen boiled beets have a freezer shelf life of:
|Freezer Type||Storage Time|
|Fridge freezer||6-8 months|
|Standalone freezer||12 months|
For best quality and food safety, use frozen beets within labeled freezer time. Beets that have been improperly frozen or stored too long may develop off flavors or soft, mushy textures.
Signs Your Frozen Beets Have Gone Bad
Check frozen beets for the following signs they have spoiled and should be discarded:
- Unusual softness or mushy texture
- Translucent appearance
- Strong unpleasant odors
- Mold or ice crystals on food surface
- Discoloration or unappetizing greyish tones
As long as frozen beets maintain their vibrant color, firm yet pliable texture, and characteristic earthy beet aroma, they should be safe to cook with!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you freeze raw beets?
Yes, you can freeze raw beets. Trim, peel, and cut beets into 1/2 inch cubes or slices. Blanch for 3-4 minutes to preserve texture and color. Cool, drain, and pack into airtight containers or freezer bags. Frozen raw beets are better suited for cooking vs eating straight from frozen.
Should you peel beets before freezing?
It’s recommended to peel beets before freezing. The skins can become tough when frozen. Peeling before freezing makes beets easier to use straight from the freezer.
Can you eat beet greens?
Yes, beet greens are edible and highly nutritious. They can be sautéed, added to soups and stews, or used raw in salads. Store greens separately from roots as they draw moisture.
What’s the best way to thaw frozen beets?
Thaw frozen beets in the refrigerator overnight, under cool running water, or in the microwave using the defrost setting. Avoid thawing at room temperature as this allows bacteria to grow.
How can you tell when boiled beets are done?
Test doneness by poking beets with a fork or skewer. They are done when easily pierced through. Perfectly tender beets should take 30-60 minutes boiling depending on size.
Freezing cooked beets is an excellent way to preserve seasonal beets to enjoy their sweet flavor year-round. With proper boiling, cooling, and freezing technique, boiled beets can be frozen for up to 12 months while retaining their taste, texture, and nutrients. Frozen boiled beets provide a handy shortcut ingredient to add nutrition and color to recipes. Follow the boiling, cooling, and freezing steps outlined above, thaw and use within recommended timelines, and enjoy delicious beets anytime from your freezer.