How to Harvest Beets

Beet harvesting is a very simple process that has two different methods along with countless preparations to consumer afterwards.

Botanical Names: Beta vulgaris

Harvesting beets is a common question often asked, but there are many different responses to this question:

1.    Harvesting can occur as soon as specified on the seed package, however, this is all dependent on weather and temperature in your region of the country.

2.    Harvesting can also happen when the beets are immature. Some prefer the beets eaten this way and state that the taste is more concentrated and sweet.

3.    Harvesting by sight is the best method, which means that once the “shoulders” of the beets are protruding through the soil surface that they are ready to pick and consume.

4.    This question also depends on if you are growing beets to eat the greens or the roots. The greens can be harvested at any time and will regrow, but the roots as we described above would all have to do with your preference.

Once you have determined that you are ready to harvest your beets, it is quite a simple process. Most importantly, first know what you will do with all your harvested produce. Do you plan to pickle, can, cellar store, consume right away? Having all the equipment and space to complete these options is necessary.

There are two methods to harvesting:

1.    Pull and Tug: This method is properly the most used, but it can cause unnecessary backache. Place your hand on where the greens meet the root and pull to free from the dirt. If the shoulders are showing then using them as leverage to tug the root free is often handy. It is important to not pull on the greens too much and detach them from the roots making your job of removal harder.

2.    Lift and Shovel: This is the method that I prefer. Gently place a spade along the row of beets and lift the soil. This helps to loosen the soil so that the roots come out nicely without causing too much fiction with your body. Once all the soil is loosened to your liking, dig your hand into the soil – almost under the root and lift. This helps the taproot to come free easily.

Once all your beets are harvested, go ahead and remove all the greens if they are being used for edible purposes as their shelf life is only about 5 to 7 days. If the greens are not being used, go ahead and leave them adhered to the root. Lay the roots out to dry in a sunny location. This will make the soil removal easy; where it can just be dusted off the following day. If needed immediately for use, roots could also be washed outdoors to remove dirt. At this point, the beetroot is ready to use in whatever preparation is preferred.

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