Harvesting and Storing Beet Roots
Beet roots are delicious and nutritious vegetables that are easy to grow. These plants also have colorful leaves in different shades. This makes beet roots popular as ornamental plants in many backyards. If you harvest your beet roots at the right time and store them properly, you can enjoy them throughout the year.
Step 1 – Determine the Harvest Time
Beet root must be harvested at the right time, so you can enjoy it in its sweetest and tastiest form. Avoid beet root harvesting when the bulbs are too small, but do not wait for them to grow too big either. This vegetable has fibrous roots, and older bulbs tend to become very woody, and are not very pleasant in taste. You can start checking the bulbs about 9 or 10 weeks after sowing. To do this, pull out one of the bulbs that you planted first. If it looks ready for harvesting, you can pull out all the bulbs that you planted at the same time.
Step 2 – Harvest the Beet Roots
Use a garden fork to carefully loosen the soil around a beet root. Take care not to disturb the other plants. Pull out the bulb by holding the top of the plant and pulling. If the bulb is an inch or slightly more in diameter, it is perfect for harvesting. Once you determine the readiness of the beet roots, you can begin harvesting the rest of the crop. If you planted your beet roots at different times, harvest the ready bulbs leaving a uniform space between the others. This will ensure that the growing bulbs get more space to develop.
Step 3 – Ready the Beet Roots for Storage
After pulling out the beet roots, cut the leaves off, at a height of 2 inches above the root. This will help the bulbs last longer, as the leaves have a tendency to sap moisture from the roots. You can use the leaves in salads or other cooking preparations. Wash the bulbs with water and remove all the dirt. Dry the bulbs thoroughly with a paper towel.
Step 4 – Store the Beet Roots
You can store beet roots for a few weeks in your refrigerator. For long-term storage, place the beet roots in a paper container or bag. Make sure there are enough openings to provide air circulation. Avoid using plastic bags for storage. You can also line a cardboard box with sand and layer the beet roots on top. Cover with another layer of sand. You can store multiple layers of beetroots in this way. If you use this method, you do not have to wash the beet roots before storing them. Keep the beet roots in a cool, dark place such as the garage or in a shed. Make sure the storage place is free from moisture and unaffected by rain or snow. You can use stored beets over several months.