Beets. When I was a kid I hated beets. They looked gross, smelled gross, and tasted gross. One night Ma made beets as a side dish with dinner and while she and Dad were yapping about their day, I very stealthily placed each beet under my plate. I knew I could get away with it because me and Rob usually had to clear the table and wash the dishes. Alas my plan was foiled when Ma jumped up and said, “Robin, you look tired, why don’t you go study and I’ll clear the table,” as she reached for my plate under my protests. Too late I had been had. The mushed beets under my plate had been seen. But I got away with it because she laughed. Parents, it is impossible to discipline your kids while laughing. Trust me, I’ve tried.
It wasn’t until recently when I discovered a new love for beets. The difference? Non-canned, absolutely fresh from the market beets. Fresh roasted beets are the best. In this first part of How To Roast Beets I will show you just that. How to roast beets which can be eaten plain, in salads or for use in any dish calling for cooked beets. In the second post I will fill you in on two great recipes using beets as a colorful and delicious addition to your Thanksgiving Feast. So this is a three for one deal. One vegetable, three recipes.
Remove the greens from your fresh organic beets. Leave at least two inches of the stems attached, this is so the beautiful red pigment of the beet will not leak out during the cooking process. The red color, or betacyanin in the beet is water soluble so if you ever were to boil it the pigment would fade away. Also leave the root intact for roasting. Do not peel the beet either. Save the lovely edible greens! In Part II I will tell you how to cook these wonder leaves.
Using a vegetable brush, scrub the beets well. Remember to rinse between the stems. Keep that root intact! Once the beets are scrubbed, place them in a large casserole. I roasted 9 beets. I also needed beet juice for the Harvard Beets recipe so I added 1 1/2 cups water. Now you will tell me I’m steaming the beets and not roasting. Blah, blah, blah. Now cover the beets tightly with foil and roast for 1 hour 15 minutes in a 400° oven or until the beets are fork tender.
Let cool until you are able to handle them. Then simply pull away the peel, roots, and stems. This is a messy job so wear gloves (if you have them- I didn’t), old clothes, and don’t use your favorite cutting board. Save the juice, you will need it for the Harvard Beets recipe coming in Monday’s Post. The beets can be eaten now warm or at room temperature with a sprinkle of Kosher salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Also very good in salad.
STEP 4: How to Remove Beet Stains From Your Hands
Even after a good scrub with soap and warm water, my hands remained stained.
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Have a great weekend!