i think that red beets appear to be difficult to prepare. they look funny. they have papery, dirty skin and long stalks that are just daunting. what the heck are you supposed to do with all of that stuff? is there really food in there under that nasty peel? yes there is. ruby, sweet, buttery root vegetable. i love beets in a salad with a little blue cheese and citrus dressing. lately, we’ve been having beets on a salad with dried apricots and apricot jam honey mustard. what a tasty meal! root vegetables are in abundance this time of year, so stock up. my mom cooks a bunch of them in the fall, then puts them in the freezer to keep through the winter. she’s so smart! i remember eating lots and lots of beets as a child, i’ve always loved them. i also remember my dad hating them. without exception, every time i would eat buttered beets in front of him, he would proclaim “eeeewwww, beets”. which meant mom, sister and i were alone in our beet loving dinners.
not only delicious, but healthy too: beets have proven in studies to be effective in protecting against colon cancer, heart disease, and birth defects. they are really cheap, too. we bought a big fat bunch of them at the farmer’s market for $3.
beets will stain anything they touch. anything. a gross but essential bit of knowledge: they will also stain your *ahem* insides, if you know what i mean, especially if you have been consuming them for several days. no need to be alarmed, beeturia is a harmless condition that will pass after a few days.
a tip for keeping your hands skin colored when prepping beets: cover them in olive oil before you peel and cut them.
there are probably a kabillion ways to prepare them, but my favorite is roasted. some will tell you to scrub the skins before you cook them, but i know that there are precious minerals stored in the skin that will be washed down the drain if you do that. plus, you risk scraping and bruising the beet under the skin, and when you roast them, that part of the vegetable will be dry and gnarly.
how to prepare then roast beets:
chop off the hair so you have about 2″ of stalk remaining.
submerge in clean, cold water for a minute or two. change water and repeat.
preheat oven to 400f.
make a big pouch out of foil. drizzle a little oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. fold it all together inside the pouch so the steam doesn’t come out of the loose ends.
roast for 45 minutes. check it to make sure they are “fork tender”. let them cool on the counter top for a few minutes before peeling and cutting so they are easier to handle. use a paper towel to scrub the skins off of the beets, and carefully pull the tops off. cut into chunks to do what you wish with them.
this is what we did:
cut roasted beets into manageable chunks.
toss with prepared green beans (i steam them), and a glaze made of equal parts apricot jam, apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
we liked it served with some rosemary chicken, which has become our sunday favorite lately. like i said, beets are an essential ingredient in autumn salads, along with a little blue cheese, apples, and sunflower seeds. -and bacon.
look at how pretty they are!
i know that you can make sweet dishes with beets, too. i’ve heard of red beet cakes and cupcakes, but have not yet attempted them. i would love to find a recipe for a dessert beet dish.
you can also pickle them and put them in martinis. yum!