If you have an abundance try freeze drying beets! They make the best beet chips, will last a very long time, and are so simple to preserve. Learn everything you need to know about how to freeze dry beets in this tutorial!
Although freeze-dried cherries and strawberries get a lot of attention from the freeze-drying crowd, don’t overlook the humble beet! Fresh beets are great on their own, but freeze dried beets are extra special.
There are several different methods to preserve these delicious vegetables, whether you want to make crispy chips, freeze-dried cubes, or even beet powder. Be sure to follow all the steps below to get the best results every time.
Freeze dried beets have a delicious earthy flavor and a crisp texture, similar to the beet chips from the grocery store but without the oil. Freeze drying will preserve the nutritional value of the beets, so this is a great way to take advantage of all their health benefits and store them for a very long time.
Home Freeze Dryer
Many inquire about DIY home freeze-drying. The Harvest Right machine is the only at-home freeze dryer option I know. And there is no other way to freeze dry foods for storage. Harvest Right Freeze Dryer. You can read more about mine here.
You will need some special equipment to freeze dry beets at home:
- Home freeze dryer (I use Harvest Right)
- Freeze drying trays
- Sheet pan (for pre-freezing)
- Cutting board and knives
- Mandolin (optional)
- French Fry Cutter) optional
Preparing the Beets:
The first step will be to peel your beets and slice them to an appropriate size. To peel beets you’ll cook them, allow them to cool so you can handle them then peel with your hands. Cooked beets peel super easy. I find boiling them is the easiest method.
Choose young beets. Wash the beets thoroughly under cold running water to remove dirt and debris. Leave on the roots. Trim the beet greens, leaving about 2 inches of stems intact. Leaving the stem long retains more color in the beets. The choose how you want to cook them.
choice 1 – Boiling
Place the beets in a large pot of boiling water. Be sure all beets are fully covered with water. Cook the beets until they are fork-tender (usually takes around 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the beets). Remove the beets from the pot and let them cool for a few minutes or until you can handle them.
Choice 2 – Roasting
Preheat oven to 400°F. lay beets out on a baking tray or in a roasting pan. Bake for 45-60 minutes. Or until fork tender. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can handle them.
They should be easy to peel by simply using your fingers or a vegetable peeler to peel off the skin. It should easily slide off.
I’ve got a short video on my youtube channel that shows really nicely how easy the beets peel after boiling.
Slicing beets to the appropriate size
Decide on the desired shape and size for your freeze-dried beets. They should be not more than 1 to 1.5 inches thick. You can do this as you like, usually it will be slices or cubes. The important part is getting your pieces close to the same size and thickness so they will freeze dry evenly.
- Use a knife to slice beets by hand.
- Use a French fry blade on a food processor to create sticks. Beet sticks make a nice crunchy snack.
- Make beet root chips by slicing very thin. A mandolin slicer works great for this. Or you can use a blade on a food processor.
Pre-freezing is optional. You can just put your food in the freeze dryer without a pre-freeze but… it is a good idea for a couple reasons.
- If you’ve got other food in the freeze dryer, you can be preparing ahead for future loads
- Pre-freezing can shorten the overall freeze time. I don’t know that it saves very much time… but maybe a little.
Arrange the sliced beets in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and let the beets pre-freeze for a few hours or overnight.
- Pre-freeze your freeze dryer so it is cold when you put in the trays of beets. You may or may not need to do this, check your freeze dryer for presets for food that is already frozen. If you’ve got that just follow the prompts.
- Transfer the pre-frozen beets to a freeze dryer tray if they are not already on one. (Sometimes, I’m just pre-freezing on other trays.)
- Then turn on your freeze dry machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operating the model.
Always check your food to make sure it is thoroughly dried. The dryer is pretty accurate but it is important that all food is completely dry.
I have an older model Harvest Right freeze dryer. I know newer models have settings that make things super easy. Mine does not have all these options.
Freeze-drying beets takes approximately 24 to 48 hours, depending on the thickness of the slices and the moisture content of the beets. The good news is the machine does all the work for you. It detects when the food is done and will automatically stop. It will keep the food frozen until you come and finish the process.
How to Tell When Freeze-Dry Beets are Done
Like all freeze dried products, you want to make sure all the water has been removed from the beets. The beetroot slices should shatter and crumble when you crush them in your hands. If they are not completely dry and brittle, they need to be processed for longer until they reach the desired level of doneness. This is as simple as add more dry time in your settings.
This is a printable recipe card. Below that you’ll find more information on storage, and using your freeze dried food.
It’s essential to store your freeze-dried beets in an airtight container, ideally with an oxygen absorber, to keep them from absorbing moisture.
- Short term storage (1-2 years): Regular mason jars will work well for a short period of time. You can close the jar like normal or vacuum seal them.
- Long term storage (up to 25 years): Pack the beet chips into mylar bags with an oxygen absorber and seal them with a vacuum sealer.
Once packaged, store your beets in a cool, dark, and dry place, like your pantry.
How to rehydrate
Rehydrating your freeze dried beets is simple. Just put in a bowl with water and wait a few minutes. The way freeze drying works the rehydration process is much much faster than regular dehydrated foods. You can simmer them if you like and it might be a bit faster.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to rehydrate to use them. You can just eat them like they are. They are wonderfully crunchy. They are also very very dry. It will dry your mouth out so plan on having a drink to go along with the snack.
What can I do with freeze dried beets?
There are so many different ways to use freeze dried beets! These are some of my favorite uses.
- Add to soups and stews
- Make a savory trail mix
- Make crispy beet chips
- Rehydrate and serve as a side vegetable
- Crush the beets into a nutritional powder
- Add a vibrant color to frosting or cookies
Instead of buying expensive beet powder from the store, start freeze drying beets! Crush them into a powder using a high-powered blender or food processor and then preserve them in an airtight container. They’re great for adding to smoothies to get the health benefits without the flavor of the beets!
OH my gosh! What a great idea. Yes, I’m sure you can. I have not tried it myself. The flavor might turn out pretty strong so you’ll have to try it. I bet it would make great crunchy snacks! (Putting that on my list to try
Freeze dried beets taste pretty much like beets. If you rehydrate them the flavor and texture is remarkably like any cooked beet. If you want to snack on them dry they are crunchy and ‘snacky’. The are however very very dry. You’ll definitely want a drink to accompany them!
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