Home Vegetable Gardening Harvesting Beets: A Comprehensive Guide to Timing, Size, and Storage for Optimal Flavor and Nutrition

Harvesting Beets: A Comprehensive Guide to Timing, Size, and Storage for Optimal Flavor and Nutrition

by Gregory
3 minutes read

When to Harvest Beets: A Comprehensive Guide for Optimal Flavor and Nutrition


If you’re growing beets in your garden, knowing when to harvest them is crucial for maximizing their flavor and nutritional value. This guide will provide you with all the information you need to pick beets at the perfect time, whether you’re using them for salads, soups, or juicing.

The Ideal Harvest Time

Generally, beets can be harvested as early as 45 days after planting, depending on the variety. However, many gardeners prefer to wait until the beets reach a slightly larger size, around 2-3 inches in diameter.

Size and Flavor

Some say that smaller beets are more flavorful, while others believe that larger beets have a sweeter taste. Ultimately, the best size for harvesting beets depends on your personal preferences. If you prefer a more intense flavor, opt for smaller beets. If you prefer a sweeter flavor, allow the beets to grow a little larger.

Appearance and Quality

When harvesting beets, look for beets that are dark in color and have a smooth surface. Avoid beets that are pale, wrinkled, or have soft spots. These may indicate that the beets are old or have been damaged.

Harvesting Techniques

There are two main methods for harvesting beets:

  • Pulling by hand: Grasp the area where the leaves meet the root and give a firm, steady pull.
  • Digging: Carefully dig around and below the beet, being careful not to cut through the root.

Storing Beets

Once you’ve harvested your beets, it’s important to store them properly to maintain their freshness and nutritional value.

  • Short-term storage (up to 2 weeks): Wash the beets and remove any excess dirt. Place them in a plastic bag or container and store them in the refrigerator.
  • Long-term storage (up to 6 months): Place the beets in a box filled with sand or sawdust to absorb moisture. Store them in a cool, dark place, such as a root cellar.

Tips for Optimal Harvest

  • Water the beet crop a day or two before harvesting to make the beets easier to pull from the soil.
  • Harvest beets in the morning to avoid the heat of the afternoon.
  • If you’re harvesting beets for their greens, trim them sparingly while the beets are still in the ground.
  • Eat some of your beets fresh for the best flavor and highest nutritional content.

Additional Tips for Different Culinary Uses

  • For salads: Harvest smaller beets with a more intense flavor.
  • For soups and stews: Harvest larger beets with a sweeter flavor.
  • For juicing: Harvest beets of any size, but choose those that are dark in color and have a smooth surface.


Harvesting beets at the right time is essential for enjoying their optimal flavor and nutritional value. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to harvest beets that are delicious, nutritious, and ready to enjoy in a variety of culinary dishes.

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