4 Signs That Your Beets Have Gone Bad

All fresh fruits and veggies have a limited shelf life. To enjoy the health benefits, great taste, and flavor of beets, learn the signs that your beets have gone bad.

There are 4 ways to know if beets have gone bad: smell, taste, texture, and mold growth. Like most veggies, it can be obvious because of the smell or how they look. Beets are no exception, they are a root vegetable and follow the same guidelines.

If you’ve been stacking up on your beet supply and aren’t sure of the signs to look out for when they go bad, this post is for you. Use these tips to help keep an eye out and save money with the next beet sale.

Sometimes your favorite store could have one or two bad beets in the bunch and spoil before the week is over. Beets can also be a great veggie to pick up and have over many days. So, how can one pick the best beets or know when they’ve gone bad?

Indications beets are not good anymore

It’s a good idea to look for signs that your beets have gone bad before you buy or even cook them.


Fresh beets have a distinct “earthy” smell when they’re fresh. Although it’s hard to define, an earthy smell can be familiar if you’ve smelled beets in the past. When beets go bad they may not always have a rotten smell but you will notice an unpleasant smell. Trust your excellent smelling skills and your gut.

If the smell is overbearing, go ahead and throw them away. Sometimes it is hard to base freshness by smell, but in some cases, the smell will be enough.

The fresh earthy smell is something to grow accustomed to. Beets may not always smell rotten when completely bad, but an unpleasant smell is enough to let that beet go.


People say that if you find mold in your fruits and veggies, you can cut off the moldy parts and use the rest. The problem with this is the fungus hasn’t affected only the parts seen, it has spread its toxins all over the beets.

The best thing, in this case, would be to through away the whole beet. There is always debate when it comes to foods that have developed some mold. The fungus doesn’t just affect the surface that you see.

On most occasions, the spores and toxins are all over your vegetable by the time you spot them anywhere.


Fresh beets are very firm but if you notice they have become wrinkly, look for bruising. Beets can get wrinkled because they lack moisture.

If you notice the coat of the beets has become soft, it’s time to throw them away. Beetroots are very firm when they are fresh – like carrots. I like to compare my beets with my carrots since they are both root vegetables.

Fresh carrots are firm when fresh and something’s up when they get wrinkly. Check for bruising as well.

Some wrinkling can be due to lack of moisture, while other wrinkling points to bad beets. Wrinkling = throw them out.

Beets may have a soft coat, but fresh beets should be as firm as a tennis ball. If the beet is as soft as a tomato, it has likely gone bad.


Sometimes people get the misfortune of a beet going bad early. One might assume it had something to do their storage of the beet.

A way to test: after a few days of storing in the fridge, take out the bad one and chew on it. If it’s very bitter and dry and nothing like the sweet and mellow taste a good beet should have, it’s bad.

Warning: that taste can stick around in your mouth and throat for a while. Better for this than to ruin an entire meal though!

How to select fresh beets

  1. Go for beets with a firm bulb and no signs of bruising. Large beets tend to have a rough texture while small beets are more tender, sweeter, and cook faster.
  2. Look for beets with green leaves. Check for trimmed leaves and grab a few with a 1-2 inch stem.
  3. Avoid beets with soft wet parts or bruises, those beets are spoiled. Beets with an intense color means they have high concentrations of healthy nutrients.

Know how to spot the best beets

When you go out to buy beets it’s important to know how to spot the best beets. Also, it helps to know how to best store them so they stay fresh longer. Like other veggies, you can know when they’re spoiled by the smell or how they appear. It’s not always that simple.

Bottom line: trust your gut if the beets have a funny smell or if you notice any mold or bruising on them.

How to store beets

If beets aren’t stored properly, they won’t stay fresh for long. Here are steps to follow to ensure your beets last the longest.

  • Fresh beets with greens attached last for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
  1. Remove the greens and stems to prevent absorbing moisture from the root. This way the beets can stay fresh in the fridge for 2-4 weeks.
  2. Cut off the stem and leave about 1-inch then place them in an airtight plastic bag.
  3. Don’t wash the beets because water can cause them to go bad.
  4. When cooking beets, don’t peel or cut them before putting them in the fridge.
  5. Once beets get cooked, the skin peels off. And, if you peel them, the color will spill to the boiling water and the beets will turn brown.
  • You can only refrigerate cooked beets for up to 3 days.

FAQ about bad beets

Can you eat old beets?

Fresh beets are supposed to have a hard coat but if yours has a soft coat it is spoiled. Beets can only stay fresh for a few days before they go bad.

Are slightly moldy beets edible after boiling?

To be on the safe side its best not to eat beets or any other foods that already have mold because the toxins have spread to the rest of the beets.

How long do beets stay good in the fridge?

If your beets have their green attached, cut them off but leave 1-2 inches of the stem. At room temperature, the beets will last a few days but if you want to refrigerate them they will remain fresh for about 10 days.

Is it bad to eat the skin of a beet?

If you’re not a fan of the earthy taste of beets then you won’t like how the skin taste because it’s very bitter especially when eating the beets raw.

Do cooked beets go bad in the fridge faster than other vegetables?

Cooked beets can only be refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can also freeze cooked beets to keep the flavor and texture.

What To Look Out For in Unhealthy Beets

No one likes a bad vegetable. Some smell bad and with others, you’ll only figure out something isn’t right when you’ve already cooked them. Imagine having guests over and realizing you have to cook all over again. It would be even worse if you learn much later after your guests complain of stomach upsets!

Beetroots are pretty hardy when fresh. Most root vegetables can go for a month without spoiling as long as they’re stored in the best conditions: humid and cool.

This is why you have a veggie drawer in your fridge; it can stay cool during summer, and not too icy when it’s winter.


There is no harm in trying to save a few pennies and making a beet last longer. But, there is no point in getting sick over a few bad beets.

Buy your beets from a trusted source and don’t forget to store them well!