Harvesting beetroot: when is the beet actually ripe?

For a long time, beetroot was not very popular with us. There was an air of backwardness and old-fashioned about her. But today, numerous users, from hobby gardeners to star chefs, are returning to the strengths of this tuber. Whether cooked, in a salad or in numerous other forms, it is increasingly gaining popularity. However, those who grow them themselves should know when the beetroot is ripe and what to look out for when harvesting and storing. Because nothing would be worse than months of care and joy about the upcoming harvest, which is then spoiled by mistakes in handling the beetroot.

Growth and maturity of beetroot

From April, when the soil is warm enough, beetroot can be sown directly outdoors. Depending on the heat, duration of sunshine and moisture supply, the first of the red tubers can then be pulled out of the ground three to four months later. The main harvest months are thus in July, i.e. three months after the earliest sowing, until October, when the growing conditions gradually become less favourable. Because the small red tubers can hardly tolerate temperatures well below freezing, which means that the shelf life and taste suffer.

Due to the comparatively short growing season, the harvest time is not determined by the onset of frost or worsening growing conditions, but can be adjusted to a certain extent to the gardener’s preferences:

  • Earliest harvest possible when the beetroot has reached about the size of a golf ball
  • the younger the fruit, the more delicate and mild the taste
  • with increasing age, the aroma intensifies, but the tuber also becomes woody
  • harvest at the latest when the leaves turn yellow and dry
Read More  Ideal location for tomatoes - sun or shade for tomato plants?

Proper harvesting for a good shelf life

When it comes to beetroot, harvesting the healthy and tasty tubers correctly is far more important than the exact time of harvest. Because if you do everything right here, the hobby gardener and health-conscious self-sufficient person can enjoy their aromatic, sweet-earthy taste even until the end of winter. The following things should be observed when harvesting:

  • easy harvesting, pulling the tubers out of the ground by the leaves
  • turning the tuber slightly while pulling it out of the ground usually makes it easier to loosen it from moist and compact soil
  • Immediately after harvesting, remove the outer, large leaves, taking care not to damage the tuber’s skin
  • Leave the inner heart leaves standing, otherwise the tuber will dry out quickly at the starting points

The correct storage of beetroot – for long-term enjoyment

Once the correct harvest has been successfully completed, correct storage is important in order to achieve the best possible shelf life for the beetroot. Storage that comes as close as possible to the state before harvesting can be regarded as ideal. In detail, this means that the red tubers should be stored in a box with soil or sand if possible. A dark, cool but not cold environment does the rest to keep the beetroot fresh for a long time. If the soil or sand is kept moist, the delicious vegetables do not dry out and stay fresh and crunchy for a particularly long time.

Avoid common mistakes

Anyone who knows mistakes can avoid them right from the start. Therefore, the most common mistakes when harvesting and storing beetroot are briefly mentioned here:

  • too early harvest of the tuber – although sufficiently ripe for consumption at almost every stage, but hardly any yield if harvested too early
  • Harvesting too late – when the leaves wither, the tuber loses water, taste and shelf life suffer
  • leaving all the leaves on the tuber – high moisture loss and rapid spoilage
  • remove all leaves including heart leaves – high loss of water through heart leaf attachment points, thus rapid spoilage
  • Damage to the shell when removing the leaves – large surface area for bacteria and microorganisms to attack, resulting in rapid mold or rot
  • too warm and dry storage – rapid drying out and thus rapid loss of quality
  • Too cold storage – when the tuber freezes, the cells rupture and spoil quickly
  • bright storage – stimulation of new shoots, forcing is at the expense of the quality and freshness of the tuber
Read More  How to harvest Hokkaido pumpkin correctly: when is it ripe? | Information about the harvest time

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.