These firm root vegetables are in their prime from June to October and there are many different ways to incorporate them into your meals. A salad with shredded beets for a kick of colour or sautéed beet greens – the most nutritious part of the beet!
How to Pick Beets:
Look for firm beets with a regular-shaped root. If the root is oddly shaped it may mean the beet struggled to grow and could be bitter and tough. The beet tops should be a nice green and not yellow or wilting. The beet itself should be firm to the touch. Also keep in mind that the small to medium beets can be more tender than the large ones and will cook quickly.
Beets come in the traditional red colour but also yellow (especially nice if you don’t like staining your hands) and a really cool candy striped variety…very fun for a salad topping.
How to Store Beets:
Snip off the greens, and store them separately (leaving about an inch of the stem) so that the moisture and nutrients aren’t drained from the beets. As a side, beet greens are great in a salad or sautéed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
How to Prepare Beets:
If using raw for a salad for example, pare off the skin using a paring knife and shred with a box-grater or cut into thin strips (julienned). If cooking (boiling, roasting, etc.), leave the skin on, as they are much easier to peel once cooked. If boiling or steaming, they should take about 30-50 minutes in a covered pot depending on the size. Roasting beets is a favourite because of the intense flavour it gives off. The best way to roast your beets is to scrub them clean and place them covered in a 400 degree oven until tender (about 45-60 minutes, depending on size).
Kary’s Beet Tips:
- If you’re making a salad with shredded beets, the beets will often coat the salad with their dark purple colour. To avoid this, toss them alone in the vinaigrette and add to the salad just before serving.
- Do you have older beets kicking around the refrigerator crisper? They just may be saved. In boiling water, add beets and ½ teaspoon of sugar and salt per quart.
- If you don’t have the patience to wait for roasted beets to cool in order to peel them, run them under cold water until cool enough to handle. When cool enough, cut off both ends, then push the skin off with your thumbs under cold running water. The water will help the skin to slip off and keep your hands from staining a deep magenta colour.
- Slicing beets can stain your cutting board. To help remove beet stains, scrub your cutting board with a paste made of baking soda and water.
- Try adding sliced roasted beet to your sandwich or burger for a hint of sweetness.
- A delicious juicing combination: beet, carrot, and a small piece of ginger.
What Goes Well With Beets?
Beets go well with: Apples, basil, beef, butter, cabbage, caraway seeds, carrots, cheese, chives, dill, hard-boiled eggs, garlic, honey, horseradish, lemon, mint, mustard, olive oil, onions, orange, pepper, pistachios, salt, sour cream, sugar, tarragon, and vinegar.