All About Beets
Most of those who hate beets declare that they taste like dirt. Others say they are earthy and sweet.
In my opinion, “earthy” is just another word for dirt.
I used to only like beets if they were pickled. Not so much now that I am better at cooking and flavouring beets.
This post provides information, tips, and strategies to possibly change the haters to lovers.
What are Beets?
Beets are a root vegetable that is very popular and versatile. They come in a number of colours, but red beets are by far the most common.
Their versatility comes from the fact that they can be eaten cooked, raw, or pickled. Although they can have a very “earthy” flavour profile, they easily take on other flavours. Creativity is the key to making nutritious and delicious beets.
Whether you grow your own; receive them in a CSA delivery; or find them at the market; experiment with them. You can cook them any way you like: bake, roast, pan-fry, saute, boil, braise. They are also very good pickled and raw.
- Separate the greens from the beets and store separately. When removing the greens, leave a little bit on the beet (about 1/2 inch). Wash the greens very well and store in a plastic bag or airtight container with a piece of paper towel to help control the humidity. The greens will only last 1 – 2 days, while the beets will last 1 – 2 weeks.
- There is no need to wash the beets before storing. Just brush off any dirt and inspect for insects. Place in a plastic bag or air tight container.
- If you decide to wash the beets before storing, scrub them lightly without breaking the skin.
- Raw beets do not freeze well. They become grainy.
- Separate the beets from the greens, leaving 1/2 inch of leaf stem on beet. Wash beet greens and beets well. Be careful not to break the beet skin.
- Cook beets by boiling, steaming, or pressure cooking with the skin on. Once fork tender, place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Peel skins off and cut larger beets into smaller pieces. Small beets can remain whole.
- Blanch greens for 2 minutes. Shock in ice water. Place in container or freezer-safe bag and freeze. Don’t forget to label them.
- Lay beets out on a cookie sheet in one layer and place it in the freezer for a few hours. Then transfer into airtight container or freezer-safe bag. This will prevent them from clumping together. Don’t forget to label with the name and date.
- When ready to eat, thaw the beet and cook until just heated through.
To prepare beets:
- If not already done, remove the greens.
- Wash the greens very well and gently scrub the beets under cold water. If you are having trouble removing dirt from the beets or greens, let them soak in cold water for 15 minutes or so. The dirt will loosen and fall away.
- There is no need to peel the beets before cooking. Once cooked, allow the beets to cool enough to be handled and then remove the skin. To protect you skin from staining, wear rubber gloves or use a paper towel when handling the beets.
Uses For Beets
Beets can be used in so many dishes:
- Add raw to salads, stir-fries, as a garnish
- Cook with their greens – add greens in the last few minutes so that they can wilt but not over cook
- Cooked, thinly sliced and baked to make beet chips
- Added to soup
- Roasted with balsamic vinegar
- Added to hummus
- Beet pair really well with sweet fruits like apples and oranges.