Beets from a can?
o.k. So I went a little crazy yesterday at Shoprite's can can sale. I have 6 cans of beets and I don't know what to do with them. I was going to do a Greek spin with a vinegar, feta, oregano kind of thing, but I thought I would ask first what any of you do with them.
Thank you ever sooo much!! :)
I make pickled eggs with canned beets--use small eggs, or medium. Make a brine of the beet juice, vinegar, salt. (To taste.) I add a few thin slices of raw onion. Put 6 or so peeled hard boiled eggs in a bowl, cover with beets and juice (the beets can be sliced / cut up as you like.) Wait at least overnight to have deeply purply tasty eggs. There are much more varied pickling recipes--this is just easy and nice.
I can't think of anything wrong with beets cut up with a lettuce wedge, homemade 1000 Island!
Canned vegetables are not horrendous to me--just different. I wouldn't like a fried egg sandwich without ketchup out of a bottle. Fresh peas are especially nice, but heaven knows I love those little sweet peas in the silver can--it's almost a different vegetable, I suppose, but lots of people like both.
Assuming they aren't already pickled, you can do a salad that Jacques Pepin does that is easy and gorgeous and interesting. You just mix a splash of red wine vinegar into sour cream and toss with the drained beets and chiffonaded basil. Season with salt and pepper. I've played around with this a lot, topping with blue cheese and pecans, or adding in fennel, chives and endive, but even the basic is good.
And yes, fresh beets taste better, but you have what you have, right? So have fun with this. It's a good recipe, too, because you really use an entire can for about two people, rather than just a sprinkle here or there.
I've occasionally bought the pickled ones; more often than not in the small size for use as a salad while camping. Canned veggies tend to be soft. Canned beets, in my experience, have the right consistency for eating without further cooking. So the simplest use is just drain them, slice if needed, and dress with some vinegar. Obviously they could be added to other salads, more as a touch of color than anything else.
I simply do not understand the hate directed towards canned beets. Of all the vegetables that should never be canned except as a last resort, beets and corn stand out as sturdy exceptions. The sweet-and-sour "Dutch beets" my mother made from these were one of my favorite side dishes; I like them either simply sliced and warmed with some butter, salt and pepper, or cut into large julienne into a salad.
When we lived in Nashville, I was forever being surprised at the vehement dislike of beets I kept running into. "They taste like DIRT!" I kept hearing, to which I would (silently) reply, "Yes, exactly." They're a root vegetable that hasn't forgotten its origins, and I love that. If you don't, you don't. Go eat something else.
Canned beets are nothing more than cooked beets. Why is everybody so snotty about them?
No different than if you cooked some yesterday and had some leftovers to use today.
Nope, if you cook them some more, they'll likely get too soft and be unpleasant unless you have a really good microwave but there are better ways to use them.
Rinse them well and serve them as a salad. They're going to taste the freshest if you use lemon juice for some brightness just as with fresh beets.
Horseradish is really great with beets.
Some chopped sweet onion is good and if you wait until just before serving, it won't become discolored from the red beet juice.
The feta is a nice flavor note, as is bleu cheese.
They're also good with cucumbers, oranges, and walnuts. Try placing them on a bed of greens such as mache, mesclun, or watercress.
Again, adding things is best held until the last minute to avoid having everything turn various shades of pink to red. Makes for a prettier salad.
Before produce was readily available in winter months - not that long ago - canned beets were a mainstay on winter tables. There were many innovative and delicious ways that home cooks used them, mostly in salads, since we just didn't have lettuce in winter.
You only have 6 cans.
Play with them.
I always keep canned beets in the pantry for when fresh cannot be found. Here’s what I do with them...
Get some onions and garlic going in a skillet, usually with butter and/or olive oil. When they are ready, drain and quarter the canned beets and add them to the skillet, cook them until they are blackened to your liking. Add a handful of roasted pecans or walnuts near the end for crunch. Works best with whole beets, but sliced will do.
This usually satisfies the beet hater at the table.
Since you have them you must use them so here is a simple Borscht Recipe.
Just sub your canned ones for the fresh.
Also, I wonder what would happen if you drained and dried your canned beets really well, doused them with salt, pepper and olive oil and a touch of balsamic and then roasted them at 450 for a while ... try it with a few and see if it caramelizes at all ...
And really fresh beets are another entity and they are not expensive at all so well worth it over the canned ones anytime.
Happy eating, Oana
Nobody, to the best of my knowledge, prefers canned beets to fresh. But fresh ones are either available only rarely, or are hideously expensive, or can be found only once or twice a week depending on when your farmer's markets happen, all depending on where you live. Canned ones are on market shelves everywhere, and are cheap, and ready to use within minutes of picking up the can. They do not offer the near-orgasmic wonderfulness of a pan of freshly-roasted babies, nor does anything IMO short of actual sex. And Yes, those greens!! But if you just need something besides the sweet potatoes or squash gratin for a side dish, or suddenly need something extra to bump up your green salad, there's that can just waiting for you.
re: Will Owen
I agree, you can use them to patch in some colour to any salad: they dress up right nice!
Or you can chop them fine, mix with pineapple, fresh coriander and lime juice for a superb little salsa for chicken.
Or you can 'borscht' them, 6 ways to Sunday.
Or you can notice how cute (like little hearts) they look cut in half and use them as a side dish for Valentines Day.
There is no such thing as a bad vegetable, only unimaginative cooks!
Well I don't love canned beets, fresh and oven roasted are 10 x better, however, canned is ok I use them on salads, sautee with butter s/p, some cold with a little balsamic and s/p. Pickled is also good for future use.
I also dice some with butter peas and pearl onions.
A great simple flavor. Ilove my grilled romaine with sauteed onions and canned beets served with a chilled vinaigrette and topped with goat cheese. Excellent!! Roasted are better however I have used canned and they are fine. I have also pureed them and used them in a rich sauce and used some while roasting pork tenderloin. They tend to fall apart, add a nice tang and color.
A nice addition to a Broccoli soup, dice and serve on top as a garnish with some fresh goat cheese or the cheese of your choice.
Saute with onion and herbs and then puree. Top on a small baquette then melt goat cheese and fresh chopped olives. To die for for a sprig of dill.
My publix (regular ol' grocery store here in FL, even Sweetbay and Winn Dixie) all carry fresh beets. $1.50 to 3.50 per pound 3-5 beets each. Pretty nice. I can find yellow and red year round. Whole food always has them. I guess we are lucky. Even my store when they don't have them in they can usually order them for me and at a descent price. Even 4-5 dollars to serve 4 or 5 people for dinner as a nice fresh side is worth it. Honestly a whole roasted chicken, roasted potatoes with some beets still is a great affordable dinner for anyone. That is approximately 4 people for under $4 dollars each, a great deal. I don't mind spend a little bit extra for beets because they are so worth it. Beets, fennel and romaine with some goat cheese makes a great salad, hearty enough along a very inexpensive skirt steak makes a great cheap dinner But canned yet ... stretch the budget. They work just fine for me. They are always in my pantry.
To turn canned beets into pickled beets: pour out half the liquid and replace it with vinegar until the can is full. Dump this (combined) liquid into a saucepan. Add about 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons of mixed pickling spice. If you don't have any pickling spice cobble together some peppercorns, whole cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, mustard seed. Bring this to a boil and pour over the beets. Put them in a glass jar with a screw top. Refrigerate for several days before you eat them.
I totally agree wth "MakingSense - Canned beets, Why is everybody so snotty about them?" I too am unsure what the big deal is here. I LOVE canned beats. I throw them in a bowl, nuke them in the good ol' microwave with the juice (keeps em' moist) then eat them with a fork....
If I need to get fancy i will sprinkle with a little sugar if they aren't sweet or drain and use butter, salt or garlic salt & pepper. Or use instead of fruit with cottage cheese. BOOM!!!