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Beets!

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Let me say that I am not a picky eater and I eat almost any vegetable. However I have never tasted a beet. Not sure why, they just never appealed to me.

But this past weekend, my husband and I were in a restaurant with my 14 month old daughter and my in-laws and my mother-in-law had a salad with roasted beets on it. My daughter was totally interested in the beets, tasted them, and then couldn't get enough!

I'm lucky that my daughter is a terrific eater, and now I'd like to add beets to ever-growing list of things that she eats. But I don't know where to begin. I roast vegetables all the time (cauliflower, brussels sprouts, onions, baby carrots are what I usually make). I don't know if I really need a "recipe" for the beets, but I saw this on epicurious.com and thought it was a good place to start, mostly because it gave me some directions plus she loves the carrots too.

Is there anything else I should know about roasting beets? Is there a better way to cook them?

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

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  1. Welcome to the wonderful world of beets -- I've loved them since I was a toddler.

    You can cook beets the way you would any other root vegetable (roast, boil, steam, etc.). I've found that because they're very dense, they take a long time to roast -- much longer than a comparable-sized potato, for example. The roasting carmelizes their natural sugars, though, so it's a yummy way to make them (as the recipe you linked suggested, you can cook them ahead and keep them for a few days, so you can make a big batch and use some right away and some later).

    One thing you need to be aware of is that they're rather messy -- they'll bleed red juice both raw and cooked, so you need to be careful how you handle them or they'll dye you, your kitchen and any other food the come into contact with red (after they're roasted the skins will just rub off, but you might want to use gloves).

    1. First thing with beets is not to peel or trim them until after they have cooked. Some people boil them until they are tender and some roast. I prefer baking and I used to wrap each beet in foil and bake but anymore I just put them in a casserole and cover tightly and bake at 350 F. for about an hour. Then allow to cool and peel under running water, that helps to slip the skins off. Then you are ready to go. I just love them sliced and buttered. If you can find some golden beets, they are especially sweet.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        I'm glad someone brought up the no-peeling thing - even if the beets are wrapped in foil, I think you lose a lot of good flavor if the skin and root are removed. I also try to leave about an inch of stem at the top as well. And on the subject of tops, I always try to get the bunches with the prettiest ones - they're essentially the same thing as Swiss chard, only I think nicer. Tania hates both chard and beet greens, though she adores beets, so we both have beets for dinner and I get those lovely greens for lunch!

        1. re: Will Owen

          plus beet greens are healthier? My elderly mother's Dr. advised her against eating too much chard as the oxalic acid binds with calcium and makes it unavailable to the body. Not good in osteo patients. She loves her beet greens for lunch too!

          1. re: toodie jane

            I had not thought of that, but I wonder if that might be the basis for my wife's hatred of it - a hatred which she shares with most of her family, I might add. When we were all in France visiting relatives, the cook served a gratin of chard at lunch one day, and I was the ONLY person who took any! I know a lot of likes and dislikes are tied in to one's body's sensitivity to certain substances, and perhaps mine simply is less sensitive to oxalic acid. I've noticed that Tania is not as fond of spinach as I am, and her parents never serve it.

      2. i love to wrap them in foil and bake them for about an hour. i do peel them first, with a veg peeler. i think if you boil them you lose a lot of their flavor, unless you're making a soup, like borscht. they're also great cubed and added to other roasted root vegetables, maybe around a roast or just seasoned in a pan.

        enjoy!

        1. Wrap in foil and bake. I get yellow and red beets, cook them up, and leave in the fridge for using on salads during the week.
          Roasted beets with just some S/P and butter are great, as are beets and fennel. There was a post a few months ago for roasted beets with rosemary. I tried it, it was great. Maybe search the Oct/Nov home cooking boards for more ideas.

          1. Trader Joe's as well as my local supermarket carries Melissa brand roasted and peeled beets. They are in a vacuum sealed bag and they are wonderful. All you need to do is heat them up and use in your favorite recipe or cold for salads and the like.

            I will never buy the fresh beets again and deal with the mess.

            1. The link has good advice. Don't take the roasting time as a given though, as it'll depend on how large the beets are. I like my beets with a bit of bite left in them, so I tend to remove them from the oven sooner than is usually suggested. Citrus flavors really complement beets, so I tend to serve mine with some kind of citrus juice (e.g., in a salad with orange vinaigrette).

              -nick

              1. I'd never been a big fan of beets, but I joined an organic farm co-op this year, so I got beets. I discovered that I really liked them roasted, peeled, then cubed, mixed with feta cheese and a little balsamic vinegar. The sweet and salty combination is really nice, and the colors are beautiful. It's incredibly easy (at least once you've got them peeled).

                1. Our favorite roasted beet recipe:

                  peel and cut raw beets into 1-2 inch chunks (sometimes we add turnips, too); toss with olive oil, sea salt, and coursely ground black pepper. Roast at 375 degrees for about 45 min.

                  very yummy

                  Pam

                  1. One of the best beet recipes I've made recently is Beet Roesti. Easiest thing in the world to prep (if you have a food processor). It's delicious and a nice change from the standard roasted preparations and variations thereof.

                    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                    1. Not a roasted beet recipe, but I love it - and it has a really funky hot pink colour!

                      Scrub raw organic beets until clean. Grate or shred coarsely (warning: may stain food processor or hands, so wear gloves). Place in bowl. Add a couple spoonfuls of Greek yogurt or Quark cheese, grated orange zest, salt, pepper and cumin to taste. You can add chopped fresh cilantro or mint if you have some.

                      Serve as is, or stuffed in a whole-wheat pita lined with lettuce. Head's up, though - this is a sloppy sandwich. NOT for desk lunches.

                      Another option for a lovely beet sandwich is my fave combo of hummus, sprouts and sliced beets (if raw, slice thinly; otherwise use roasted or pickled) on toasted whole-grain bread.

                      Oh, and FYI - don't freak out if your daughter pees red. It's normal. :-)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: piccola
                        a
                        Alexandra Eisler

                        That's not the only thing that will be red...(g)

                        (my daughter's pediatrician assured me I wasn't the first hysterical mother to call about this)

                        1. re: Alexandra Eisler

                          Very funny! I am a lifelong beet lover, and when the farmers market has them, I eat a bunch a day...the first time I overate beets after a hiatus, I almost took myself to the emergency room the following morning, fearing an internal hemmorhage! Anyway, my favorite preparation is simply roasted (or boiled, leave the skin on and root end intact, the skin slips off very easily when cooked). Slice and let cool slightly, mix with nonfat Greek yogurt, a bit of chopped garlic and some fresh dill. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Also love them (cooked) just marinated with sweet onions, oil and vinegar. Or just plain with butter. Or just plain. I love beets!

                        2. re: piccola

                          Here's another easy raw beet salad recipe... I got it online but didn't keep track of where:

                          300g (~9 oz) shredded carrots
                          425g (~15oz) shredded julienne beets
                          230g (~7 oz or 1/2 can) chickpeas, drained
                          60g raisins
                          4 tbsp olive oil
                          3 tbsp raspberry vinegar
                          4 tbsp pineapple juice

                          (I used raspberry vinaigrette instead of olive oil and raspberry vinegar)
                          ?
                          PREPARATION:

                          1. Combine all the ingredients.
                          2. Keep chilled until ready to eat.

                        3. You can steam them - set them up in a pot to fit them w/ a steamer basket, and depending on the size of the beets, they may take almost an hour to steam - steam them until they are fork tender or a little mushier, depending on how you like them, then peel.

                          1. Love them roasted, but my latest beet craze is to peel and shred (I have a manual rotary shredder gizmo, but a box grater works, or a processor), and saute in butter with a smidge of grated lemon peel and a little lemon juice.

                            One of these days I'll get around to other flavorings. I can think of a lot, but the lemon is so good...

                            Roasted beets are also good with yogurt, salt and ground toasted cumin seeds.

                            1. After you roast and peel them, make a salad with orange slices (Or clementines, fennel, onions, salt and pepper and a light oil/lemon juice dressing.

                              I refused to eat beets for the first 35 years of my life, but now I know regret what I missed all that time.

                              1. I didn't read all of the responses, so I don't know if this info has been posted.

                                Alton Brown's show has beets tonight.

                                1. a
                                  A Fish Called Wanda

                                  I am Russian, so beets were one of the first veggies I got to try in my life. I liked them just fine, but always took them for granted, until I tried the beet salad with oranges, and blue cheese a few years ago. What can I say... it was so yummy, that it even converted my American husband into a beet eater :)

                                  Instead of boiling the beets like the recipe suggests, you can roast them (they are even more yummy roasted), but if you boil the beets with some oranges and spices, you'll have a fantastic broth that you can use for beet/orange risotto.

                                  About roasting: I trim the tops and bottoms of beets and scrub them very well under running water to get rid of sand. In the summer, the beet's skin is more delicate and I usually leave it on. In winter, I peel the top of the beet where the skin is really tough. Cut them into 8ths, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast at 400F until tender and lightly crisped on the outside, about 40 minutes.

                                  Link: http://www.foodadventures.org/food/01...

                                  1. And don't forget pickled beets...

                                    1. Wow, thanks for all of the great suggestions! I was a bit apprehensive, mostly because of the mess, but what the heck? Nothing but the best for my daughter!

                                      This weekend I will try it out and I will most likely start with a simple preparation like roasting and see how it goes from there.

                                      I will report back.

                                      And I'll be sure to watch Good Eats tonight...what a coincidence!

                                      1. Beets also go very well with goat cheese. Had some really good pickled beets that the middle had been scooped out and stuffed with goat cheese. Then they were sliced to make beautiful rings of red/yellow and white.

                                        1. Pascale of C'est moi qui l'ai fait made a gorgeous beet cake the other day. (Scroll down a bit, it's the 3rd or 4th post.)

                                          Link: http://scally.typepad.com/