beets in a stack

Preparation: Step-by-Step


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Wash hands. Remove leaves and cut stem down, leaving
approximately one inch to prevent bleeding and flavor
loss. Thoroughly scrub beets to remove dirt or sand.


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When cooked whole, leave root end attached to prevent
bleeding. Trim and peel with a vegetable peeler. It is not
necessary to peel small, young beets with tender skins,
but larger beets should be peeled before use..

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Sliced beets can add flavor and color to any dish.
Take care when handling beets. They can leave red
stains on fabric, cutting boards, and hands.

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To serve: slice, dice or quarter large beets. Small beets may
be left whole. If mixing with other ingredients, add just
prior to serving to prevent color bleeding onto other foods.


  • Plant from seed in full sun as soon as soil can be worked. Plant seeds ¾-inch deep and one inch apart in rows 18 inches apart. Thin to 3-4 inch spacing. Consider using a floating row cover for insect control early in the season. Water consistently with 1-2 inches of water per week. 

    For more growing information, look for the MSU Extension MontGuide: Planting a Successful Home Vegetable Garden,  or contact your local MSU Extension office.


  • Begin harvest when beets are one inch in diameter. Harvest before beets exceed 2-3 inches in diameter.
  • Select beets with firm skins. Beets should be round with a slender tap root. Smaller beets are more tender. If greens are still attached, select beets with fresh looking leaves.
  • Beets can be stored in a plastic bag for up to two weeks. Beets can also be stored in a cold, humid cellar.
  • Most vegetables are rich in fiber and phytochemicals, but provide negligible amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium and are gluten-free. Beets are high in folate and magnesium with only 25 calories per half-cup serving.


  • Pierce and wrap washed beets in foil and bake at 350 °F for 45 to 90 minutes or until tender.



  • Place 1/2-inch thick slices in a plastic bag; drizzle with olive oil and low-sodium seasonings. Shake until beets are coated. Then put slices on skewers over a preheated (medium-high heat) grill. Cook 15-20 minutes or until tender, turning the skewer occasionally.



  • Combine one cup 100% orange juice or apple juice and the juice of one small beet in a juicer. Add to a smoothie for added flavor and nutrition.


  • Place two to three small beets in a small amount of water and microwave for 8-15 minutes or until soft.


  • Slice 1/2-inch thick. Place in a plastic bag and drizzle with olive oil and seasonings. Shake until beets are coated. Spread on baking sheet and roast at 400°F for 30-40 minutes or until tender..

Salad Greens.

  • Rinse leaves thoroughly before adding to a salad. Tender greens are excellent for seasonal salads.


Stir-fry or Soup.

  • Sliced beets and their leaves are a colorful addition to stir-fry and homemade soup.



  • To enhance the flavor, use allspice, basil, cinnamon, cloves, dill weed, ginger or nutmeg




For More Information:
Montana State University Extension:
MSU Extension Master Gardener:
MSU Extension Food and Nutrition:
MSU Extension Nutrition Education Programs:


Date of Publication: January 2014

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