Can you freeze beets in vinegar?

Beets are a versatile and nutritious root vegetable that can be enjoyed year-round. Freezing beets is a great way to preserve their flavor and nutrients when they are in season. While you can freeze plain cooked beets, adding vinegar creates a tasty pickled beet product that stores well in the freezer.

Benefits of Freezing Beets in Vinegar

Pickled beets made with vinegar provide several advantages over plain frozen beets:

  • The vinegar preserves the beets and prevents loss of texture and flavor during freezing.
  • Adds tangy, acidic flavor that enhances the natural sweetness of beets.
  • Allows you to enjoy pickled beets year-round by freezing a batch during beet season.
  • Saves money by buying beets in bulk when priced low and preserving for later.

Choosing Beets for Pickling and Freezing

When selecting beets for pickling and freezing, choose fresh, firm beets with bright color. Avoid beets that are soft, wrinkled, or dull. The best beet varieties for pickling include:

  • Red beets – This classic choice has a rich flavor and retains its color well when pickled.
  • Golden beets – Have a mild flavor and add color variety.
  • Chioggia beets – Pretty pink and white concentric rings when sliced.
  • Cylindra beets – Mild tasting; keeps its shape well for uniform slices.

Small and medium sized beets work best for uniformly cooking and pickling. Larger beets tend to be fibrous and woody.

Pickling Process

Follow these simple steps for pickling beets to freeze:

  1. Wash and trim beets, leaving 1 inch of stem and root ends. Scrub well.
  2. Place whole beets in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer 30-60 minutes until tender when pierced.
  3. Drain and let cool. Slip off skins.
  4. Slice cooled beets into 1/4 inch rounds. Cut larger beets into wedges or cubes.
  5. Pack sliced beets tightly into freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  6. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar and salt.
  7. Pour hot vinegar mixture over beets, ensuring all slices are submerged.
  8. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours.
  9. Remove pickled beets from refrigerator and drain off excess liquid.
  10. Pack pickled beets and liquid into freezer bags or containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Squeeze out excess air and seal.
  11. Freeze up to 10 months.

Serving Frozen Pickled Beets

Frozen pickled beets are easy to enjoy. Thaw in refrigerator overnight before serving. Use thawed pickled beets:

  • On salads
  • As a side dish
  • In sandwiches and wraps
  • Topping for roasted pork or chicken
  • Mixed into grain bowls

The vinegar acts as a preservative, so thawed pickled beets will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. The vinegar flavor may become stronger after freezing and thawing.

Freezing Pickled Beets Without Added Vinegar

You can freeze pickled beets without adding extra vinegar. To naturally pickle beets for freezing:

  1. Follow same process for washing, cooking, peeling, and slicing raw beets.
  2. Pack sliced beets tightly into freezer containers.
  3. Pour boiling water over beets, leaving 1 inch headspace.
  4. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours.
  5. Drain off water and pack beets into freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Freeze.

The natural acids in the beets will pickle them lightly without added vinegar. These beets won’t be quite as tangy or strongly flavored as vinegar-pickled versions.

Tips for Freezing Beets in Vinegar

  • Use non-reactive containers like plastic, glass, or stainless steel.
  • Remove as much air as possible and seal lids tightly.
  • Label containers with contents and date.
  • Store pickled beets in freezer no longer than 10 months for best quality.
  • Don’t thaw frozen pickled beets and refreeze.
  • Add a bit of vinegar and seasonings to thawed beets if desired.

Storing Thawed Pickled Beets

Properly stored in the refrigerator, thawed pickled beets will last:

  • In vinegar brine: Up to 1 month
  • Without brine: Up to 1 week

For long term fridge storage, keep pickled beets fully submerged in brine. Use thawed pickled beets within 1 week for best quality if not stored in brine.

Pickling Spice Blends

For flavor variety, add pickling spice blends to the vinegar brine. Good options include:

Spice Blend Ingredients
Basic Whole allspice, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, bay leaves
Indian Coriander seeds, fennel, cinnamon, cardamom, red pepper flakes, ginger
Moroccan Coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, chili flakes

Use about 1-2 tablespoons of pickling spice blend per quart of vinegar brine. You can also customize your own blend.

Beet Freezer Pickle Recipes

Here are some tasty vinegar beet pickle recipes to freeze:

Simple Beet Freezer Pickles

  • 4 pounds beets, cooked, peeled, sliced
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Maple Dill Beet Pickles for Freezing

  • 3 pounds beets, cooked, peeled, sliced
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Spicy Garlic-Ginger Beet Pickles

  • 5 pounds beets, cooked, peeled, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups rice vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Safety Tips for Frozen Pickled Beets

  • Only freeze properly pickled beets stored under brine or vinegar solution.
  • Discard any beets with mold growth or bad odors.
  • Use within recommended storage times for safety.
  • Keep thawed beets refrigerated and use promptly for food safety.


Freezing beets in vinegar is an excellent way to preserve their flavor, color, and texture so you can enjoy pickled beets all year long. Choose firm, fresh beets, pickle using a vinegar brine, and store the beets properly in the freezer and refrigerator. With a variety of seasoning options, you can make tasty homemade frozen pickled beets to add zing and color to meals and sides dishes.

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