Beets calories

Beets Nutrition Makes Them A Great Choice For Your Survival Garden

Some time ago I researched and reported on garden vegetable calories. I wanted to know which vegetables might be better to grow for the sake of survival & preparedness (mainly for calories). Among several choices, I noticed that beets are also a pretty good choice! They grow fast, have pretty decent calories, and you can eat the entire thing… the beetroot, stalk, and tops – all good nutrition.

I knew that most vegetables are pretty low in calories and may not be very practical to grow compared with others if one were to consider SHTF survival (calories).

While beets are not as high in calories as potatoes or corn, beets in your garden make for a pretty good ‘survival food’.

Beets from the garden contain about 180 calories per pound (potatoes and corn — about 350 calories per pound).

Why Beets?

1. Beets are very easy to grow.
2. Beets grow fast!
3. You can eat their leaves and stems!
4. Fairly high in calories.
5. Will store will during the winter.
6. Beets Nutrition: They’re apparently healthy for you!

Beets Are EASY & FAST

During a previous season I grew a particular variety of beets in part of a raised garden bed as an experiment. It was wildly successful!

I planted them (seed) on May 31 and harvested on August 2 (9 weeks).

I could have harvested sooner but I wanted to wait until the exposed ‘shoulders’ of the beets were big (about 2″ diameter – some were bigger and a few were smaller).

They were maintenance free. Their large leaves shaded any potential weeds from growing.

UPDATE 2022: This year I’m growing ‘Detroit Dark Red’ variety that I purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (no affiliation). This is a popular variety and I can’t wait to taste them…


The large leaves (beet tops) from a beet are great for salads. You could also snip off a leaf or two during their growth period.

The stems are also edible. I tried cutting them into pieces and fried them in a pan with oil. Tasted fine.

Beets harvesting


I am trying an experiment. I put a few dozen of them in a container with sand (slightly damp sand). While you could ‘can’ them, I want to see how long they will last without any external energy required.

Leave the root intact and simply cut the leaf stems leaving about 2 inches. Layer them in sand. I place the cover onto the container to keep the dampness intact.

Online research indicates they should last 2 to 4 months. We’ll see… I’ve stored potatoes which have lasted about 6 months (simply layered within boxes in my cool temp. shop building).

Garden beets in a bowl
Store beets in sand

UPDATE: The sand method did not work well for me. Not sure why. They ended up mold. This year I will be using the canning method.


Online research reveals apparent health benefits of beets. These include:

– lower your blood pressure
– boost stamina
– fight inflammation
– phytonutrients (deep crimson color) may help ward off cancer
– immune-boosting vitamin C

Apparently beet leaves are the highest in potassium of any vegetable!


In one cup of beets (,

0.2g Fat
0.0g Cholesterol
106mg Sodium

3.8g Dietary fiber
9.2g Sugars
(13g Total Carbs)

2.2g Protein
21.8mg Calcium
442mg Potassium


You probably won’t be eating much meat during ‘hard times’ so it will be important to seriously consider garden vegetable calories and experiment NOW rather than LATER.

Discover what grows well in your area, your soil, your environment. These will be what you should concentrate on. Experiment every year with something new in addition to what you know works.

I have an ongoing experiment with growing potatoes in a barrel (two barrels actually). They look to be doing great. When I harvest them I will let you know (and will write an article)!

UPDATE 2022: That experiment didn’t go nearly as well as I had hoped. I did get potatoes, but not as many as I thought that I would. I have some other potato experiments going this year…

Anyway, thought I would mention Beets…


  1. Ken;
    Curious of the type you have growing, I’m vary happy with the Detroit Dark Red.
    Usually harvest at around 2.5 to 3″ diameter. At they size they are not “pithy” yet.
    I do a HUGE amount of pickled beets, but also just can beets without spices.
    On the wintering over, have had them last 3-4 months just in a box in a very cool (not freezing) dry area.
    I also can the stems and leaves as “greens” with a touch of salt (not needed).
    All the Canned stuff last for years and years, if it’s not eaten in 6 months HAHAHA
    Great Info, thanks Young Man

    1. NRP,
      The Beets are called “Early Wonder Beet”.

      I tried these because of their quick grow time (since I live in a short growing season). From seed to harvest I could have done it in 48 days (although I waited 2 weeks longer for bigger beets).

  2. Definitely going to have to look into these. I’m not a fan of beets per se, but we do need to eat healthier and hopefully these will prosper in our weird soil.

  3. I LOVE BEETS! Especially the Golden Beets! Love the tops with them. Problem is, beets don’t always love me. I will just say that they tend to cause me stomach issues.

  4. Im still eating squash right now. I eat a lot of beets during the fall months. I have not tried to grow them yet.

    Do they require a lot of fertilizer or other amendments to your soil? Can you “hill” them like people do with potatoes?

    1. Calirefugee;
      Beets are not a root crop per say like Potatoes, more like a HUGE Radish. Usually I plant them in a row spaced 9″ placing seeds 2″ apart. in a Flat bed not mounded.
      I have found that no extra or different fertilizers are needed for a good crop. They do like water though,
      I will admit I did get lazy this year and did not “thin” them, so will see what kinda mess I end up with, but they are already about 14″ tall and growing like crazy. They also like a little cooler weather, so they are a little behind, but will be good to go in a month.

  5. Beets greens, washed, steamed, in a bowl with a little apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper, best green out there, imo only. Tiny beets, leave them with the greens, good and good for the body. Detroit Reds, short season also.

    1. Or washed, dried, then wilted with a little hot bacon grease and hot vinegar. Yummy!

  6. We always grow beets. The bulb grows above ground, only the roots and end are in the soil. They are also a common ingredient when we use our juicer. They do not ferment well as they get slimy.

    1. CR since it is an early crop not too many critters. Maybe a flea beetles. Makes tiny holes in the leaves. I don’t recall if wire worms like the root. Of course a ground hog might like the leaves.

    2. CR;
      I don’t have the critter problems since the 2′ high raised beds. seems Rabbits are somewhat laze around here. The Tree Rats do occasionally visit, but they do taste gooders when fried right :-)
      Bugs and worms seem to not visit, I set one Urinal Cake at one end of the Garden, does not seem to bother the bees.

  7. Back in another life the husband of the time ate a whole jar of pickled beets. next morning I hear this cry from the bathroom, “I’m dying what has happened OMG”. I ran in and started laughing as his poop was red with beets color. LOL Just remember folks that don’t know they can color your poop!

      1. Well then, just gotta make sure and balance it out so its brown🤪

  8. I love beets as a crop and would grow them if shtf also because they are so easy and we eat the entire product. My spouse and I just had a discussion on this topic yesterday about what would go In the ground if we had limited time or shtf. Beets we’re number one for all those reasons.

    I tried another type with a green leaf this year, along wit he Detroit Red that I usually grow. We found we still prefer the Detroit variety, although I may try Ken’s variety next year. They are easy to grow, but when I grew a second crop last year and tried leaving them I the ground in September, a critter ate the beet bulb….same with my sweet potatoes!

    I cook, the bulb, stems, and leaves. I steam or put in boiling water the bulb cut up first, then the stems about 4 minutes later, and then the leaves about 3 minutes later. Once the bulb pieces are al dente, I take them out and put them in a pan with olive oil or bacon fat and stir fry a tad, then salt and pepper. Yummy! We also eat raw beet bulbs sliced in our salads which are very tasty. We have had company that goes nuts over the beets prepared with all parts and still some who won’t taste – just say they taste like dirt. So I have to ask if they have eaten dirt lately.

    I haven’t had enough left over to pickle yet, so hopefully I will learn that next year.

    They will not only turn poop red, your urine looks like you have a kidney infection! It is funny to hear the reaction of people when they visit the restroom after enjoying the beets.

    1. DAMed
      Yeah, told my brother one time, when we were kids.
      My poo was red.
      Being the bro that he was (is)
      Replied ….. that’s not good. Your dying……

    2. OC – it think they have an earthly taste but I don’t remember eating dirt as a kid. I know that cilantro tastes soapy to me and I read the same thing about the people that taste the soap for that herb. Seems like I prefer dirt over soap! Go figure. I always said asparagus gives a person hamster pee cause that is what it smells like to me. Guess we need to be mindful what we eat if we are on the run.

  9. I can grow beet tops but never produce bulbs. Not sure what’s wrong. Have tried several years in different spots but always the same. Something must be missing in my soil or maybe too much of something. Maybe not enough sunlight.

    1. @veggies
      I started having very good luck with beets after tilling in a lot of organic matter, composted manure, hard wood ashes, bone meal and some 8-8-8.

  10. Heirloom beats work in SWFL Seed in Late October for Early Winter Crop young leaves are great in salad.
    FYI if your in the mood… use the juice to die your tighty whities to pink :O
    Just saying the ladies like it :)

  11. Beets are definitely one thing I grow. My favorite are cylinder beets. they will get about 6 inches long and almost an inch in diameter. Sometimes bigger. They are sweet and firm when cooked. And when sliced, all the slices are the same size. They freeze well, and also are good pickled. The tops are as good as any beets tops I’ve tried. My wife makes Harvard beets, which is some kind of sweet sauce the precooked beets are put in. I don’t know, but it sure tastes good. This year I also put in a short row of white beets, which taste just as good as red beets, but with no “bleeding” in the bathroom, if you know what I mean. I mainly planted those for the tops though. They produce a lot of tops, and are just as good as the red beet tops or better. Early Wonders are also a favorite, as they seem to grow really fast, and you don’t have to wait as long. Then I freeze or can the later maturing stuff. Oh! By the way, cylinder beets are also heirloom.

  12. The industrial side of beets is the mangel. It isn’t grown for human consumption, but there are many stories of human subsistence survival on mangels. I just sectioned off a portion of the hog pen and planted it in mangels. There are lots of videos of people growing mangels for winter time chicken food. This would be a good fall crop for winter animal feed.

    I remember last time this article was posted, I was unable to post comments because of the required log in policy. Things are better now on Modern Survival Blog. I still miss the rating thumb, though.

  13. I just got to thinking. I wonder if white beets are as nutritious as red beets? Same calories? I don’t know. Anyone got any idea on this?

  14. i love pickled beets. ya can’t go wrong with canning for long term storage.

  15. We love beets and with a move in progress are hoping we can get them planted right away along with various greens.

  16. BEETS
    I grow ’em because they taste great?
    Not so much

    I grow and can ’em because of the nutritional value and health benefits and food stocks?
    You betcha!

  17. Can you home can beets that have been frozen? Sometimes I don’t have enough produce coming ripe at the same time to be able to can them. Just wondering.

  18. Love the beets. I grow them to eat as well as for the greens. Also, our church gets an order up every January from an organic grower in Calif. I buy them in 25 lb. bags and can them. Yummy stuff.

  19. Nothing goes better with Mac & cheese than a pile of pickled beets, one of my favorite quick meals

  20. Love a huge bowl of beet tops with butter or margarine & salt. They go great with barley bread & black tea. My great Grandma, who was Ukrainian, from Tarnopol, got me started on beet tops. She worked the summer of 1914 as a migrant laborer in Germany and paying close attention to the warning signs, took her earnings from harvesting crops with a band of migrant farm workers & bought a ticket to the US just as the war began and she never looked back. She never ate a beet as far as I could tell, but beet tops with barley bread & glass of black tea? We used to eat them about half the year when I was over at her place. She always rummaged around to find me sugar for my tea because I was such a spoiled little kid (to her way of thinking) I couldn’t drink my tea black. Hard to believe that was almost 60 years ago.

  21. Best way to eat beets if you don’t have a dehydrator is to cut them up in to cubes and make some borscht (red) – mmmm

Comments are closed.