{Tips & Tricks} Cooking Beets

Beets, or beetroots, are very versatile vegetables that can be used in a variety of dishes. The leaves, stems and nuts add so much color and flavor to dishes and can be used in many recipes.

These little gems are full of flavor, packed with vitamins and low in calories. Beets are also rich in antioxidants and nutrients. Instead of buying prepared beets from the store, why not cook fresh beets? It’s so simple…let me show you how it’s done!

Selecting

When selecting beets, be sure to avoid beets that are slimy and soft. Beets should be firm and round.

If you are buying red beets, they should have a deep red color and the surface should be smooth. They should have unblemished skin and bright green leaves.

If you are buying “yellow” beets, they should be vibrant gold in color. Always avoid beets that have dark or sunken spots.

You should choose beets that are roughly the same size so that they cook evenly.

If you enjoy eating beets that still have the greens attached, make sure that the greens are fresh and clean.

Cleaning and Prepping

Trim the roots and leaf stalks to about 1/2 inch. Wash the beets under running water but be careful not to scrub too hard or rub off the dirt with a paper towel. Don’t worry about the skin because it will be removed after you cook the beets. Leaving the skins on will allow the beets to retain the color and flavor.

Cooking

Fresh beets can be cooked in a number of ways. They can be baked, boiled, roasted, sauteed or steamed.

Baked

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Clean off dirt with a paper towel.
  3. Trim the roots and stems to 1/2 inch.
  4. Wrap foil around each beet and place them on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 60 minutes or until tender.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  7. Rub the skins off with your fingers, knife, peeler or damp paper towel.
  8. Trim off the ends of the beets and use in the recipe.

Boiled

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Clean off dirt from beets with a paper towel.
  3. Trim the stems to 1/2 inch and leave on tail (it will be removed later).
  4. Place the beets in boiling water and cover the pot. Allow the beets to simmer for at least 30 minutes, depending on the size.
  5. Remove from the water and allow to cool.
  6. Rub the skins off with your fingers, knife, peeler or damp paper towel.
  7. Trim off the ends of the beets and use in the recipe.

Roasted

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Trim the stems of the beets to 1/2 inch. Wash, peel and quarter the beets.
  3. Arrange beets on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast the beets for 30 to 45 minutes or until tender.

Sauteed

  1. Heat a frying pan with a lid over medium heat.
  2. Peel and dice or chop the beets.
  3. Add extra-virgin olive oil and, when the oil is hot, add the beets and a few tablespoons of water.
  4. Cover the pan and saute for 5-15 minutes or until the beets are tender.
  5. Add other foods and flavors to the pan, cook all of the ingredients together and serve warm.

Steamed

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil; add salt to the water.
  2. Clean off dirt from beets with a paper towel.
  3. Trim the stems to 1/2 inch and leave on tail (it will be removed later).
  4. Position steamer on top of pot and arrange clean beets in the steamer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes or until tender.
  5. Remove from heat, plunge in cold water and remove skins with your fingers, knife, peeler or damp paper towel.

There are many ways to cook beets and each method only requires a few steps to achieve great tasting beets. The next time a recipe calls for beets, instead of heading to the canned vegetable aisle, head to the produce aisle and select a few fresh beets. Choose a cooking method from the list above and follow the simple steps…once you go fresh, you’ll never go back!

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