Get The Most Out of Your Beets from Backyard Eats
When It’s Ready
- When the leaves are 6-12 inches long
- When beet roots are 1½ to 3 inches in diameter
- Beets will start to deteriorate if you leave them in the ground for more than 10 days after they reach their full size
- You can snip off up to a third of a plant’s greens without harming the roots
- New greens will grow for harvest in 1-2 weeks if harvested intermittently
- Beet roots can be pulled from the soil by grasping the bunch of greens at their base
- “After pulling the roots, shake off the soil, and twist off—don’t cut off—the tops, leaving an inch or so of stems to prevent the roots from bleeding.” [RUEOG]
Beets are a root vegetable with a slightly sweet and earthy flavor. Raw beets can be grated and added to salads or slaws, or sliced thinly and used as a garnish. They can also be juiced or blended into smoothies for a nutritious and colorful drink. Cooked beets are often roasted or boiled, and can be eaten hot or cold. They can be sliced or cubed and used in salads, or pureed into soups or dips.
Note on Row Cover
We cover beets, spinach, and swiss chard with a white row cover to prevent leaf miner bug damage. This is NOT a sun-protection or germination cover, and should be left on the plants for as long as possible throughout the season. We may remove the row cover around spring plants as necessary to interplant summer crops. If you see leaf miner scars on plants, they are still edible and can be picked around.
Beets are a delicious and hearty vegetable that can be stored for some time after harvesting.
Fresh Storage: Place greens in airtight bags or containers and refrigerate. Don’t crush leaves, but it’s ok to compress gently to save on bag space.
Long-Term Storage: Freeze whole leaves: Blanch in boiling water, dunk in ice bath to retain color, dry, and freeze in storage bag. Beets can be stored in the fridge for up to 6 months. Beet roots can also be canned or frozen.
Cooking With Beets
- Roasted Beets: Coat whole beets with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast them in the oven until tender. Once cooled, peel and slice them to enjoy as a side dish or add them to salads for a sweet and earthy flavor.
- Beet Salad: Thinly slice or grate cooked beets and combine them with ingredients like goat cheese, walnuts, and greens for a vibrant and nutritious salad. Drizzle with a simple vinaigrette to complement the flavors.
- Beet Soup: Make a comforting beet soup by sautéing onions, garlic, and diced beets. Add vegetable broth, herbs, and spices, and simmer until the beets are tender. Blend the soup until smooth and serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.
- Pickled Beets: Slice or cube raw beets and pickle them in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and spices. Let them sit in the refrigerator for a few days to develop tangy and sweet flavors. Enjoy pickled beets as a condiment, on sandwiches, or in salads.
- Beet Smoothie: Blend cooked beets with fruits like berries, banana, and a liquid of your choice (such as almond milk or coconut water) to create a vibrant and nutritious smoothie. The natural sweetness of beets adds a unique twist to your usual smoothie flavors.