What can I do with canned beets liquid?

Beets are a super healthy and versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw, cooked, or canned. While the beetroots themselves pack a nutritional punch, many people overlook the tasty beet liquid that fills the cans. Rather than pouring that bright pinkish-purple beet juice down the drain, there are many clever ways to use it up.

What is the liquid in canned beets?

The liquid surrounding canned whole beets is essentially beet juice. When beets are processed and canned, the beets are cooked and then packed into cans along with their natural juices. Some additional water may be added during the canning process to ensure the beets remain submerged and don’t oxidize. However, the majority of the distinctively colored liquid comes straight from the beets themselves.

This means the beet liquid is full of the same nutrients and health benefits as beet juice. It contains high levels of phytonutrients like betalains, vitamin C, folate, manganese, and potassium. Research shows drinking beet juice can:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve exercise performance
  • Increase blood nitrate levels
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Detoxify the liver

Rather than throw all those nutrients down the drain, use the canned beet liquid to create a nutritious drink or incorporate it into recipes.

Drink it as beet juice

The simplest way to use canned beet liquid is to drink it straight. Pour it into a glass over ice for a refreshing beet juice beverage. You can also pour it into popsicle molds and freeze for homemade beet juice popsicles. Let kids drink the juice plain or blended into fruit smoothies for a nutrition boost.

Adults may want to spice up the flavors. Puree the beet juice with fresh or frozen fruit like oranges, strawberries, or mangos. Blend with ginger, lemon juice, and club soda for a bubbly beet punch. For an alcoholic option, mix with vodka, rum, or tequila.

Cook grains or rice with it

For a unique twist on cooked grains or rice, replace some of the water with canned beet liquid when boiling. The vibrant pink-purple hue will tint the entire dish. This works with any type of rice, quinoa, farro, barley, or other whole grains. Simply sub out 1/4 to 1/2 of the cooking liquid for beet juice.

The beet flavor pairs especially well with wheat berries, wild rice, or farro. Toss the finished pink grains with fresh herbs, feta or goat cheese, and chopped walnuts or pecans for a pretty and protein-packed salad. Or serve the purple rice alongside roasted beets, chicken, and greens for a colorful dinner.

Make pickled eggs

Beet liquid’s bright fuchsia color seeps into anything soaked in it, making it perfect for pink pickling. Hard boil a dozen eggs, then peel and submerge them in a jar of canned beet liquid. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to let the eggs soak up the rosiness. Enjoy the pickled beet eggs as snacks, appetizers, or salad toppers.

You can also add some vinegar and pickling spices to the beet liquid to reinforce the pickled flavor. Try adding a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, dill, coriander, peppercorns, and garlic cloves before pouring over the eggs. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Boost baked goods

Put that pretty pink beet juice to work enhancing muffins, cakes, breads, and more. Substitute beet liquid for half the oil or butter called for in baked good recipes. The liquid keeps items extra moist while adding moisture and a subtle earthy sweetness.

For particularly vibrant results, swap it for all the liquid in recipes for things like beet cake, red velvet cupcakes, or homemade beets bars. Boiled beet liquid concentrates down into a sticky syrup resembling molasses that pairs deliciously with chocolate. Use it to replace up to half the refined sugar in brownie, cookie, or other dark chocolate recipes.

Marinate meats

Let beet liquid infuse meat, fish, or poultry with flavor by marinating proteins in it. Beef takes particularly well to beet marinade. Submerge steak, roasts, or meatballs in canned beet liquid overnight before cooking. The nitrates will help tenderize the meat in addition to lending a hint of sweetness.

Beet liquid also combines well with Asian flavors. Marinate chicken, pork, or salmon in a mixture of beet juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic before stir frying or grilling. The beet’s minerals help meat retain moisture.

Sub for vinegar

In recipes calling for vinegar, like salad dressings, beet liquid can often be substituted 1:1. Its natural acidity provides the needed tartness, while its distinctive flavor plays well in vinaigrettes. Simply use it in place of vinegar in your favorite homemade or store-bought dressing recipes.

Beet liquid is also ideal for deglazing pans. Pour it into a hot skillet or roasting pan after cooking meat to lift up the brown bits. Then reduce to a glaze and mix with butter or oil for an instant sauce with rich umami flavor.

Make soup

Canned beet liquid provides an easy shortcut for making borscht or other beet soups. Heat up the beet juice with veggie or chicken stock and blend with sautéed aromatics like onion, garlic, and carrot. Finish the soup with cream or yogurt and garnish with fresh dill.

For bonus nutrition, chop up the canned beets and add them to the soup too. Roasted beets, potatoes, or beans also make hearty additions. Season with lemon, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

Use as a natural food dye

That intense fuchsia liquid makes canned beet juice an all-natural food coloring. Use it to tint frostings, yogurt, jams, and more. Here are some ideas for putting the pigment to work:

  • Add a few tablespoons to whipped cream or buttercream to make pink frosting
  • Stir a spoonful into pancake or waffle batter for rosy breakfast treats
  • Mix with orange juice and use to fill cake layers or fruit tarts for a creamsicle effect
  • Blend into berry jam, lemon curd, or vanilla pudding for extra color

Start with small amounts, as a little beet juice goes a long way. You can always add more for a deeper magenta tone.

Make beet wine or syrup

Adventurous home cooks can turn canned beet liquid into unique handcrafted items like beet wine or molasses-like beet syrup.

To make beet wine, pour the juice into a large stockpot with a cup of sugar for every 2 cups of liquid. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes until reduced by half. Let cool completely, then pour into sterilized bottles and let ferment for 2 weeks. Enjoy chilled or mulled.

Simmering the beet liquid even longer condenses it down into a thick, viscous syrup. Cook over low heat for 2-3 hours until reduced to 1/4 of the original volume. Use the concentration of sugars as a molasses substitute in baking or pour over pancakes and ice cream.

Fertilize plants

Don’t pour that leftover beet juice down the drain – use it to feed plants instead! The nutrients that make beets so good for human health also nourish gardens and houseplants. Dilute canned beet liquid with water 1:1 and pour over indoor or outdoor plants. The minerals give vegetation a healthy boost.

Beet liquid can also help deter garden pests like deer, rabbits, or rodents due to its strong scent. Spray around the perimeter of planting beds to act as a natural repellent and drive away hungry animals.

Dye fabrics and crafts

Beet liquid is the ultimate natural fabric dye for DIY crafts. Soak cloth, yarn, wood, or other porous materials in jars of beet juice to infuse them with vivid fuchsia color.

Here are some fun ways to use beet liquid for dyeing projects:

  • Tie dye t-shirts, napkins, or other fabrics
  • Hand dye wool, silk, or other natural yarns before knitting or crocheting
  • Stain wood crafts like cutting boards, bowls, or spoons
  • Dye Easter eggs or paint porcelain
  • Color homemade paper or notebooks

For best results, heat the beet liquid and add a mordant like vinegar, salt, or alum to help “set” the color by making it less likely to bleed or fade. Have fun experimenting to see what takes on that perfect pinkish-purple hue!

Summary of uses

To recap, here are over a dozen creative ways to use the liquid from canned beets rather than dumping it out:

Use How To
Drink as juice Drink straight, blend into smoothies, or mix with other juices
Cook grains Substitute for half cooking liquid for pink rice, quinoa, etc.
Pickle eggs Soak hard boiled eggs in beet liquid
Bake Replace oil or butter in baked goods recipes
Marinate Marinate meat, fish in beet liquid
Make salad dressing Substitute for vinegar in vinaigrettes
Make soup Simmer with stock and blend with veggies
Food dye Tint frosting, yogurt, jams, etc.
Make wine or syrup Simmer to reduce and concentrate
Fertilize plants Dilute and pour over indoor or outdoor plants
Craft dye Soak fabrics, yarn, wood, etc. to stain fuchsia


With its wide range of uses, canned beet liquid is clearly too good to waste. Drinking it is an easy way to gain the nutritional benefits of beets. In cooking, it adds moistness, sweetness, and attractive color to all kinds of foods. Crafts, gardening, and home winemaking are all enhanced through the natural dye. With a little creativity, you can transform that vibrant pink liquid into something delicious and beautiful.

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