Jul 6, 2023
Beets, although available all-year-round but are great cool-weather crops. When it’s winter, they’re small but sweet and tender. When they’re mature, they have this delicious earthy flavor similar to chard or spinach. They’re excellent in adding color, vibrance, and nutrition to salads, roasts, and deeps. But they do take up a lot of space, heavy, and don’t last very long. If you hold back on getting beets when they’re on sale for these reasons, then hold back no more. Here’s how to freeze-dry beets so you’ll always have them in times of need.
Beets come in different colors and sizes. But the common beets are:
There are other varieties, each with unique features and flavors. Test which ones will give you a better result. That’s what we love about freeze drying, especially with a Harvest Right freeze dryer. You can “play with your food” and experiment without much effort and complication.
The materials you need for preparing beets can easily be found in your kitchen. These are:
To remove dirt, you should always clean your vegetables, especially root crops. Wash the beets under running water and scrub the skin with the vegetable brush the dirt off.
After washing, use a knife to cut the top and bottom off. You can keep the leaves and use it to make beet juice, but they’re bitter.
After trimming, you can either leave the skins on or off. People describe the skin as having an earthy taste. Others are okay with the flavors, while others would instead go without it.
You can now choose to slice the beets into thin circles to make chips. Or you can cut the beets into cubes depending on how you want to use them. Just remember to keep the cubes 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick. If your beetroot slices are higher than the lip of the freeze dryer tray, it means they’re too thick and need trimming.
Once you got your vegetable ready, you can freeze-dry them as is. Or season with cumin or cinnamon for delicious beet chips.
Want to make beet juice and take full advantage of the plant’s nutritional benefits? It’s easy and can even turn it into a fine beetroot juice powder.
The good thing about making the juice is using the whole plant. The tender leaves and stem can add a bitter balance to the taste of the beets. However, you can remove the leaves if you can’t tolerate the bitterness. If you have younger leaves, the better because they are more nutritious.
Once you juice the beet greens and root, line the trays with parchment paper or a silicone mat. This will help keep the product from sticking to the tray.
Pre-freezing is an option but can help with your process immensely. Especially if you’ll make freeze-dried beet juice. The root crop has 87% water, almost as much as a mango and a pineapple. It helps prepare the beets for freeze-drying when your machine is currently occupied preserving other food.
Got your beetroots ready? Got your freeze dryer empty? It’s time to start freeze-drying.
Beetroots can take 28-36 hours to freeze dry. The beet juice can take 34-48 hours or longer. Each batch of beets will freeze dry differently; some shorter, some longer, depending on certain conditions like:
To know that your beetroots are ready, touch the food while the trays are still warm. Check for cold, soft spots, especially on thick slices. If there are any, put the trays back for an additional 3-4 hours of extra dry time.
Storing freeze-dried beets is simple. Mason jars are great, but Mylar bags are better. You can vacuum seal both to keep the beets fresh and crispy. Oxygen absorbers can also remove any residual oxygen left inside the bag for added freshness. About 1-2 of the 300cc oxygen absorbers per gallon size of your container.
It’s also important to keep the freeze-dried beets in a dry, draft-free room. To better preserve the beets, keep the temperature lower than 72°F (22 °C).
Freeze-dried beets are excellent for snaking, adding to salads, and even smoothies. They’re lighter and more convenient to carry around than fresh beets on a trip. Any variety of beets would work, depending on your purpose. Whatever you choose, you’ll have favorable results that even kids and toddlers would love.
What variety of beets do you plan to freeze dry? Let us know in the comment section.
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