Do Beets Go Bad?

Bought a few too many beets on a sale 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 will 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.

Beet closeup
Beet up close

How To Store Beets

You store raw beets (beetroots) pretty much the same way you store other root vegetables, like carrots.

Tip

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 optimal place is the vegetable drawer in the fridge, in a well vented plastic bag (UM). Of course, you can use a paper bag instead, and that’s probably the best choice environment-wise.

Beets in a pot
Beets in a pot, ready for cooking

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.

Tip

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.

Cooked and peeled beets
Cooked and peeled beets

How Long Do Beets Last

Fresh beets last for about two weeks if you refrigerate them without the greens. A couple of days less if you leave the greens intact.

If you’re like me, and your veggie drawer is always full, you can keep them at room temperature for 3 to maybe 5 days. It depends on the temperature, so if you live in the tropics without air conditioning, it’s near the lower end of the spectrum.

The periods I mentioned are for best-quality beets, that is them being fresh, firm, and smelling earthy.

When it comes to cooked beets, they’re best for about three to maybe five days.

PantryFridge
Beets (fresh)3 – 5 days2 weeks
Beets (cooked)3 – 5 days

Please note that the periods above are only estimates.

Grated beets
Grated beets up close

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.
Beet salad in containers
Beet salad in containers

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.
Warning

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.

Three beets in a bag
Three beets in a bag

Sources