Here’s all you need to know about the shelf life and spoilage of beets. Learn how long do fresh and cooked beets last and how to tell whether they’re still okay to eat or not.
Bought a few too many beets and not sure what signs to look out for when they go bad? Don’t worry; you’re not the only person who goes overboard when they see a good price on the farmer’s market.
Or maybe your beets already sit in storage for a week or so, and you’d like to know how long they last.
Either way, if you’d like to learn a thing or two about storage, shelf life, and spoilage of beets, this guide is for you.
How To Store Beets
Main article: How to store beets?
You store raw beets (beetroots) pretty much the same way you store other root vegetables.
The optimal place is the vegetable drawer in the fridge, in a well-vented plastic bag. Of course, you can use a paper bag instead, and that’s probably the best choice environment-wise.
Cut off the tops before putting beetroots in storage. They draw moisture from the root and make the veggie soft and mushy faster. If you plan on using the greens, store them separately. The same is true for carrots (Do Carrots Need to be Refrigerated?) and radishes (How to Store Radishes?).
What about storing beets at room temperature? That’s perfectly fine, as long as you plan to cook them within a couple of days of purchasing.
I usually keep them in a cabinet in the kitchen, but then again, I cook them the next day I buy them. Or the day after at most.
Don’t wash your beets until you prepare them for cooking.
When it comes to cooked beets or any dishes that include them, keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.
How Long Do Beets Last?
|Beets (fresh)||3 – 5 days||2 weeks|
|Beets (cooked)||3 – 5 days|
Fresh beets last about two weeks if you refrigerate them without the greens. A couple of days less if you leave the greens intact. If you decide to leave them at room temperature, they’ll keep for only 3 to 5 days before they start to rapidly lose quality.
In other words, storing beets in a cabinet in the kitchen works only if you plan on using them within a few days tops. Otherwise, you should throw them in the fridge.
The periods I mentioned are how long beets retain good quality, meaning they’re still fresh, firm, and smell earthy. After that period, they (typically) start to degrade in quality, and things go downhill from there.
Obviously, if your beets have already sat for a day or two in the produce section in the supermarket, they’ll start deteriorating sooner. That’s why it’s best to choose the best possible beets, meaning ones that are firm to the touch and with the greens looking nice and fresh (assuming they’re not cut off).
Cooked beets and any cooked beet dishes last for only 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Let them cool for 30 to 60 minutes, then transfer to a resealable container or a lidded pot or bowl, and then in the refrigerator.
If you need more time than the given 3 to 4 days, consider freezing the dish. While freezing any beet salad would probably result in a disaster (in terms of quality), dishes like beet patties or plain roasted beets should freeze a-okay.
How To Tell If Beets Are Bad?
When it comes to fresh beets, you should be on the lookout for the following:
- Mold or rot. If there are any signs of either, discard the veggies.
- Unpleasant smell. As mentioned, fresh beets have this specific earthy smell. If it’s completely gone and replaced by a somewhat off aroma, throw the veggies out.
- Changes in texture. Fresh beets are very firm to the touch (I always check beets for firmness when buying). When they start to get a bit softer, you should use them within a day or two, tops. If the beets are limp, mushy, or soft, it’s time for them to go.
When checking cooked beets, look for:
- Mold. When cooked veggies sit in the fridge for too long, they get moldy. If mold is present, they’re done for.
- Off smell. It doesn’t happen that often, but if the beets smell off, discard them.
- Prolonged storage. If cooked beets sit in the fridge for longer than 5 or 6 days, throw them out even if they seem fine.
If cooked beets were contaminated before you prepped them for refrigeration, they would spoil within a day or two. Always check the contents of the container before you dig in.