Beets have been used in cooking for generations, which is why it is probably so shocking that I only recently included them in any of my dishes. They are a great source of vitamin c, folic acid and potassium but their goodness doesn't end there. Although their season will be over pretty soon I have a new found love for this vegetable. I've since begun investigating several techniques for cooking them. I have learnt so much about them and today I am going to share some of my knowledge and advice.
Choosing Them: Look for beets with at least 1-2 inches of stem intact since the stem keeps the roots from bleeding their juices during cooking. You'll want to picks those with crisp looking leaves that are bright green and definitely not wilted. Beets with firm but smooth dry skin are going to be your best bet and keep in mind: those that are smaller in size tend to be sweeter. Most commonly you will find garden beets at your local grocery, these are those deep ruby red in color. Yellow, white and candy cane beets can be found in some specialty markets if you are looking for some fun variety though.
Storing them: As soon as you get them home, trim the leaves about 2 inches from the root since they are infamous for sucking moisture from the bulbs. Then store them in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed bag for a week and a half at the very most. The leaves are in fact edible so reserve them if you'd like. Once cooked, they can be stored up to 1 week and the same goes for those from the can. Fresh cooked beets can even be frozen to reserve them for up to 8 months if you'd like.
Peeling them: A peeler is a helpful tool when removing the skin from raw beets and this can be done just as you would with some potatoes, carrots or any other veggie. Keep in mind that the skin will be far easier to remove once the beets have been cooked though and to do so, rub the skin off using a paper towel or your fingers under running water and it will slip right off!
How to eat them: Beets can be pickled with salt, pepper, water, vinegar, sugar and such. They can then be used as a sauerkraut of sorts. They can also be eaten raw in salads like this one I posted the recipe for a couple of weeks back. Beets pair very well with oranges, fresh herbs, almonds and cheese. They can be cubed or sliced on a mandolin for a quick and easy no cook salad that'll come together in minutes. Roasting beets is the best technique for intensifying their sweet, earthy flavor and all you will need next is a simple vinaigrette to toss them with. They can also be juiced if you'd like. Start by finely grating a bunch of beets. The more finely grated they are, the more juice you will get. Then gather the grated beets in a cheesecloth and tightly twist the top closed, squeezing the juice into a large container. It'll stay good for up to 3 days and it can be added to orange juice or carrot juice to dilute the over intense flavor if you like. No matter what you do with them I always recommend using gloves when preparing them, peeling and chopping them to avoid hands that are stained their color later on.
Those are my tips for and tricks for preparing beets. Hoping they will be useful to you. If you have any tips for preparing beets please do share them in the comments form below- I know they will be helpful to others!
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