How to Cook Beets: Peeling Beets

I've been teaching home canning for a long time.  I'd love to share what I've learned with you.   Simply Canning School's online video based classes .

How to Cook Beets: Peeling Beets for Cooking, Freezing, & Canning

How to cook beets starts with learning how to peel fresh beets! This process is important whether you’re canning beets, freezing beets, or just cooking beets for dinner.

Read below and watch the video tutorial as I walk you through peeling beets the easy way! 

And for those of you wondering..... yes you do need to peel beets before canning.  YOu should not can beets with the skins on for safety reasons.  The bacteria that can cause botulism can be found in the soil so root crops may be at risk. 

Peeling removes much of that risk and the testing done is done with peeled beets.  


How to Cook Beets: Quick Tip

When cooking and peeling beets, I like to work in my sink, because beets can be messy and the sink is lower and easier on my body too.

How to Cook Beets: Peeling Beets


When I'm teaching how to cook beets, I usually recommend boiling them.  Simply rinse the beets well, leave the tops long, don't cut off the root.  Boil until the beets are tender.  Don't over cook.  

Some people roast them, and that works too, but I think boiling works better. (If you do roast them, make sure you keep them covered and moist.) You just need to make sure the beets are cooked though. Once you’ve cooked them, the skins will rub right off.

Once you’ve cooked your beets, drain off hot water and pour cold water on top of the beets to stop the cooking. I let them set in a pot of cold water on the right side of my sink.

In the other side of the sink, I use a strainer (which is actually a part from my juicer here). Now that the beets have cooked, the skin should just rub off very easily. I like to have water running over the beets while peeling them, and I also use a paring knife to cut off the tops. (Use the knife for stubborn bits too.)

To see this process in action, watch the video below.

A peeled beet.
Sliced cooked beet.

And there you have to cook beets and peel them for cooking beets, freezing beets, or canning beets!

Links mentioned in the video 

Canning Beets


Freeze Drying

Steam Juicer Strainer

Video Transcript, edited for clarity.  


Hey there, Sharon Peterson here with I am working with beets today so I thought I would show you how you peel them. You need to do this step for a variety of preserving projects or even if you are going to cook them for dinner. If you are canning beets, dehydrating beets or i f you're just cooking beets for dinner, this is how you peel them. I am actually going to be freeze drying these. And so that's what my project is today.

But I thought I would show you how you get them peeled. So let me turn my camera around and I can show you my sink area and what I have going on. Okay. So when I'm working with beets, I like to work down in my sink. Beets can be kind of messy and doing it this way makes it really easy cleanup.

Plus it's lower and it's just easier to work when the pot is down in the sink like that.

How to Cook Beets for peeling.

So when you're going to can or when you're going to peel beets, whether it's for canning or cooking or whatever project, you're going to boil them. Now I prefer boiling. Some people will roast them and that works too. You just need to make sure that the beet gets cooked because when it's cooked, those skins peel right off. You can just rub them off with your thumbs. I have tried roasting, but it seems to me when I boil them, they just seem to peel easier. They're moister. And so that's just my preference. You can do it either way. If you do roast them, make sure that you covered them so that you keep them nice and moist. Whether it's with foil or in a pan with a lid or something like that.

So after that step, once they are cooked, then you are going to go ahead and put them in a pot and you're going to drain off the hot water. And that's what I have right here. This is drained. And then I pour cold water on top of it and that stops the cooking, and cools the beats off so that they're cool enough that you can handle. They're still warm, but you know, you can handle them. And then I have a strainer in this sink. Um, this is actually a section out of my juicer, which I will put a link to that down below. I use it for all kinds of stuff. It's just a nice big strainer.

This is where as I'm peeling, I'll have the water running like that and that just helps to rinse the beet off and all the scraps go in here, but then the water can run out and go away. And then in here is where I put the beets that are peeled. These are ready to either be chopped, put jars, put in the dehydrator. If you're going to dehydrate them, slice them thin. Or just put 'em in a pan for supper today. I will be freeze drying these today. So let me go ahead and turn this around and I'll peel a couple of beats for you and show you how it works. I can't do this one handed.

So when you turn around, these are the beats that are ready to be peeled. They're still warm but they're not hot enough that you can't handle them.

This is what they should look like when you take them out of the boiling water. When you rub them with something that skin should just peel right off like that. I don't know if you can see that, but it just peels off right with your fingers. So again, I'm working over my strainer here in the sink. I'd like to have just a little bit of water running over the beat like this and then I have a knife and I just cut the bottom off. Then I use my thumbs to wipe all that excess off, cut the tops off. And then, that should all just peel right off. Now if you have a little bit of a stubborn spot, you just use your knife and cut through that. Um, this beet was probably sticking out at the top of the water or something cause that top didn't quite get cooked enough to just peel right off.

So there you go, that's your prepped beet. This is ready to be cut up for whatever project, whether you're canning or dehydrating, freeze drying, or if it's going to cut it up and heat back up again and eat it for support.

Let me try another one here. This one is really smaller one. Oh yeah. See that one just pulled right off with my hands. Trim off the top end and that one's ready to go.

Okay. I hope that was helpful. Learning how to cook beets is so super easy. You guys have a wonderful afternoon. Again, this is Sharon with We'll talk to you later!

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How to Peel Beets
Peeling Beets

How to Cook Beets - Page last updated: 8/21/2019.

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