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Have you ever wondered what to do with all your beet greens? They’re so good for you but one can only eat so many beet greens in one week before getting sick of eating them. Beet greens are full of vitamins and minerals so it seems a waste to just throw them in the compost bin. A few years ago I faced this dilemma. I preserve kale, chard and spinach so I figured beet greens could be done the same way. I gave it a try and it turns out preserving beet greens are easy and a great way to serve up healthy homegrown food throughout the season! We love to use them in quiche, stir fries and soups all year long.
One of the heartiest vegetables in our garden this year are the heirloom beets. The beets and peas were the first seeds I planted in the garden this spring before the drought started. While the birds ate most of the 100+ pea seeds I planted, the beets germinated and thrived. This weekend I harvested about 1/3 of our beet patch, which was a little over 40 beets. I only harvested the biggest beets so the rest will continue to grow and be harvested another day.
I love to make and can pickled beets so decided I would preserve the beet greens at the same time. I figured if the kitchen is already hot and messy from canning, I might as well just do it all at once and have one big mess to clean up!
Preserving Beet Greens Tutorial
The process to preserve beet greens by blanching only took about a half hour and then another hour or two to dry before being packed into bags for the freezer.
Step 1: Cut the beet leaves off the beet and leave the stem attached. Discard any yellow/brown leaves. Tear off and discard any part of the leaf that may have a hole where a bug nibbled. Stack a bunch of leaves on top of each other on a cutting board. Slice the leaves into thin strips and the stems into bite size pieces.
Step 2: Place the sliced beet greens and stems in a blanching pot (this is the one we have and it works amazing!) Blanch the beet greens in boiling water for three minutes. Then immediately remove the inner pot filled with greens and run cool water over them. Pour them into a sink or large bowl filled with ice water to cool.
Step 3: Remove the cooled beet greens from the ice water and spread them evenly on a towel. Allow them to air dry for an hour or two.
Step 4: Pack the beet greens into plastic bags or if you have a vacuum sealer you can pack them that way. I’m still dreaming of the day when we own a vacuum sealer. For now I use the cheap DIY method of vacuum sealing: the straw method. If you’re not familiar with this, I’ll give you a quick tutorial. Pack the food you want to freeze in a plastic zip bag. Place half the straw in the bag on one side of the bag. Zip the rest of the bag closed.
Suck all the air out of the bag and as you do this, slide the straw up and out of the bag while simultaneously zipping the bag closed. It might sound tricky, but you’ll get the hang of it fast. You will be left with a nice air tight bag that looks similar to a vacuum sealed bag.
Step 5: Once the beet greens are all packed into air tight bags, they should be placed in the freezer. The less moisture they have on them when you pack them into bags, the longer they will last and not get freezer burnt. They should last for up to a year in the freezer if you don’t eat them all before then!
Have you ever preserved beet greens? How do you do it?