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What to do with beet water?!

Hi! I am a newbie, both to this board and to cooking (well.. sort of. I've been stumbling my way through college for 4 years with a spatula but now I am graduated and trying to learn for serious!). For my inaugural post here, I have a nagging question:

---> What do I do with the water I boiled my beets in?

I know most people would just throw it out, but I can't bear to do it. It is such a deep rich garnet color, and it smells fabulous. I know there are nutrients in there. Hiding. Waiting. Ready to pounce.

I read a blog entry online somewhere that says you can put sugar in it and drink it as beet juice. Sounds plausible, but any other ideas? Beet soup? Beet sauce? Beet... popsicles!?!??

(BEETS, btw, I have just discovered them, and they are AWESOME. Why did it take me this long??)

Thanks for reading my first post =D

-t!na

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  1. Actually, I was into my thirties before I ate a beet for the first time, so you have me...um, beat.

    Anyway, the best thing to do with beet water is to avoid having it: don't boil your beets! They taste better -- immensely -- if you wrap them in aluminum foil and bake them at 375 degrees for an hour, or until the tip of a knife goes in easily. Not only do they taste better than boiled beets, but you don't have to worry about losing nutrients to the water.

    2 Replies
    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

      I was going to say the same thing, although I roast mine at 450 for 45 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the size of the beets.

      That said, you could probably make grains or pasta in the water, if you'd like pink, beet-y rice, bulgar, or noodles.

      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

        Roasted beets are really good but take a while. For a quicker method that is still delicious, try cutting them up and steaming them until tender. It doesn't take long and the beets will keep more of their flavor and nutrients. I both steam and boil beets depending on the recipe and available time, but I don't think boiling them is ever necessary unless they are an ingredient in a soup.

        Try borscht!

      2. Elbow macaroni, for a cold pasta salad. Use your imagination for other useful flavors & colors. Cooked carrots, asparagus, snow peas, corn kernels. A little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, amd mayo, chill. Have fun, be creative.

        1. you can also use it to colour/flavour rice in sushi rolls.

          1. Alas, I would have baked them had it not been for the 90 degree weather, my apt lacking a/c, and our old oven having a flaw where it fills the whole room with AWESOME HEAT.

            the hair suggestion sounds fabulous. except i have black hair. dough!

            making pink rice sounds great XD that will surprise the coworkers at lunchtime!

            1. Make faux grape jelly. It's a depression recipe.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sarah galvin

                Sounds EXCITING !!!!!

              2. It would probably make a great liquid for cooking risotto.

                1. You could dye eggs with it, or even soak hard boiled eggs in it to get a very colorful egg white (not everyone's taste, but worth trying once). My borscht recipe uses the lightly salted water the beets are cooked in, with a little lemon juice and sugar added to the grated beets. Absurdly easy, very good,

                  1. Put it in the freezer. Look up a recipe for cold borscht and use that as a liquid. A cold borscht in the summer with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of dill weed is a nice thing. Or if time gets away, use it as the liquid for a hot borscht this winter.
                    And yes, baking them is easier.
                    Any vegetable cooking water can be used for soups, but I heard Mario Batalli say that he uses the vegetable cooking water to cook his pasta. That sounds like a good idea. He was making a green bean and pasta dish at the time. I don't think he boils many beets, though.

                    1. I 2nd or third the suggestions about roasting the beets instead of boiling... but since you already have the beet juice.. here is my 2 cents.

                      hmm... o.k. not that I've tried this.. but your mention of popsicles kind of got me thinking... I would think, if you added some pureed strawberries (and sugar to taste) you might get some interesting popsicles... or perhaps try it as a granita? maybe with some sugar & cloves (kind of a harvard beets granita? could be kind of refreshing nod to the savory granitas that should have died in the 60's & 70's???)

                      another idea.. you could use it to tint frosting.

                      add to a summer veg minnestrone (granted it will be a pretty freaky looking soup)... or to hide it a little use it to thin out some gazpacho? or perhaps add it to some bloody mary's?

                      my only other idea was to dye eggs (which doesn't exactly use up your beet juice, but does "use" it a second time.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: withalonge

                        I've had beet lemonade. The one I had was beet-ier than I wanted it, but it's a good combination, and very easy -- just add sugar and lemon juice.

                      2. you could water your plants with it... they might like the nutrients!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: kudru

                          I have done that with my beet water. And other veggie steaming water when I didn't want it for anything.

                          1. re: kudru

                            Great idea! I'm doing that in a minute (here in Australia)

                          2. Does it have enough flavor to serve as a gelatin?

                            1. make your own pink pasta

                              1. what a fabulous retinue of suggestions... almost makes me want to boil more beets to try them all ;D

                                actually, i ended up doing probably the least adventurous thing: i made borscht! the russians are ingenious! i got my housemate who thought beets were nasty to eat them, and like it. borscht basically starts off by boiling beets anyway =)

                                i don't think i'm ready yet for BARBIE PASTA.

                                the liquid itself is pretty flavorful, so i'm sure it would work as gelatin or granitas or popsicles. it definitely would make pasta beets-y i think...

                                thank you for all of the suggestions! =D

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: tinabeans

                                  Hmmm, I just had an idea...beet liquid cocktails!

                                2. good question. i found this topic because i am boiling beets RIGHT NOW!!! and i am wondering.... if i can use it as a toner for my face!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: adividedheart

                                    If you want a purple face....

                                  2. dye cloth

                                    1. I remember using it in bread and pasta doughs when I was little. We also did spinach water from boiled spinach (yuck, but the green bread and noodles were cool!)

                                      1. Perfect, and usually called for, when pickling eggs.

                                        1. I'd suggest roasting next time, but you could reduce the water for a super long time to sauce consistency and see if that tastes good. I've made a beet juice reduction before, literally just beet juice reduced and finished with red wine vinegar and a pat of butter, and it was awesome.

                                          1. I think it might be tasty to boil cabbage in it.

                                            1. cook black beans in it with red cabbage and red onion.

                                              1. this may be a weird use for beet juice; i happened to be coloring easter eggs with my kids the same day i was cooking beets...the color of the beet water was so vibrant and beauiful i thought it would be a great color for easter eggs...i left the eggs in the beet water for about 20 minutes and WOW -- beautiful eggs; i started thinking of all the things you could do with it...dye material for curtains, etc. but i ended up stopping with easter eggs..but i still do that every year

                                                1. p.s. writing that post sparked a memory of a lovely little book i used to read to my kids..."Ghost Dinner" all these little white ghosts drank various vegetable juices...spinach, etc. and turned the color of whatever juice they drank...they weren't able to hide anymore...can't remember the whole story but it was a fun book

                                                  1. Hello-I ate to waste so I put my beet water into chili instead of water. Even better cut up some beets and put them right into the cooking chili, almost as good as beef

                                                    1. FYI ... I read an article about the dangers of using the cooking liquid from vegetables that are not organic and it alarmed me. I had six cups of beautiful beet broth reserved for borscht. Unfortunately, I could not find organic beets, but bought from the best produce market in town. I ran the broth through a coffee filter and put it aside. When I poured it from the contained, there was a disgusting layer of black sediment at the bottom. I threw the beet broth away and used filtered water with dissolved veggie bouillon cubes. I hated to do it, but my borscht is ruby red and delicious. Since I'm diabetic, I used a rutabaga instead of potatoes to cut the carbs. From my own experience, I would say ... use the beet juice to water flowers. I wouldn't eat it. That's just my take. I'm a newbie too, but I've lost 120 pounds eating home-cooked recipes devoid of all processed foods, margarine, dairy (except for organic yogurt and half-n-half for coffee) and absolutely no red meat. Seems to have worked for me.

                                                      1. Frankly it seems logical if the cooking water is good enough for borscht, frozen or otherwise, it's good enough to drink. So just drink it. It tastes great and is probably good for you. Let's assume you scrubbed the beets first, better still if you grew them yourself....but just drink it as is.
                                                        I have also cooked apples for applesauce in part beet water, and it's a lovely pink colour. (No added taste.)

                                                        1. Keep posting...this is my first search for what to do with beet juice. Post some other ideas...you will get more followers :) have fun!

                                                          1. There is a GREAT cold Russian soup called "okroshka" that we eat cold in summer. You can use various liquids for it, but beet water is my favorite by far!

                                                            Make strong beet water. ajust seasoning with salt, sugar, lemon. Now, cut up in small pieces approximately the same amount of each of the following: hard boiled eggs, hard boiled potatoes, fresh cucumber, bolouni sausage, radish (optional and less than rest of ingredients), onions (optional and less than rest of ingredients). To serve, mix the dry ingredients with very cold beet water, add couple of table spoons of sour cream and a LOT of fresh chopped dill!
                                                            It sounds weird but every one of my Canadian frieds who have tasted it LOVED it! Its amazing on a hot day
                                                            Enjoy!

                                                            here is similar recipe I was able to find online
                                                            http://natashaskitchen.com/2012/08/05...