Stop wasting beets!
bunch of beets on wooden table
Credit: Photo by Christina Bording, Xtina Foto via Getty Images

You can roast beets and put them in a beet hummus, fry them into beet latkes, or leave them raw and add beets to no-bake granola bars. The trick to making these recipes work, though, is storing fresh beets properly so that they don't get mushy. And the good news for people who are convinced they can't keep veggies fresh for longer than a day or two is that beets are really hardy vegetables. In fact, beets can have a shelf-life of up to three months, according to H.C. Harrison, professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

But beets will only last that long if you know how to store beets correctly. (Having access to a root cellar helps. If you don't have one of those, don't worry. You can still learn how to keep beets feeling firm for a long time—though they probably won't stay fresh for months.

The first step in preventing beet roots from getting soft is separating the beet greens from the actual bulbous root. You don't have to throw out the greens, though. Beet greens are totally edible; according to Harold McGee, in his book On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, these greens are actually related to chard and spinach. So sautée them with some oregano and feta cheese, and serve them alongside eggs. The greens can also be a good indicator of a beetroot's freshness: If you buy a bunch of beets and the greens are already wilted, chances are good the beets are not that fresh.

The beet greens also last only a couple of days, so if you keep them attached to the beetroots, there's a higher chance the beets will spoil more quickly. Once you've chopped off the leaves from the roots, all you have to do to store beets properly is pop them in a plastic bag, seal it up, and put it in your fridge's crisper drawer. According to our friends at Real Simple, those beets should last between two to three weeks. Remember that washing them before putting them in the bag will only speed up the rotting process, so leave these unwashed until you're ready to use them.

By Maxine Builder and Maxine Builder