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Jun 20, 2009 02:12 PM

Beet stalks--how to cook?

We picked up some beets at the farmer's market.

Currently, there is a pork shoulder (butt) in the oven at 200F; it will be pulled out sometime tomorrow. To accompany it, I'll cook the beet greens in a manner similar to collards.

The beets will be made into a vegetarian borscht with wild mushrooms.

Question: what is the best way to cook the stalks? Blanched, julienned, and sauteed? In a quiche?

I've never cooked beet stalks, and welcome any advice.


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  1. If you are going to cook the beet greens till really soft like Southern greens then I would just chop the stalks and include them for textural variety. If you are talking about making them at the same meal as the greens that is the way I would go. If they are the really long stalks you could gratinee then like Europeans do with the chard stalks. I tried an Elizabeth Schneider recipe for Vegetable from A to Z that pickled them personally did not care for the prep.

    1. Cross cut thin, blanch, then stir fry.

      1. Beets and chard are close relatives and the greens taste pretty much the same, although beet greens are not as tender and require a little more cooking than chard or spinach. The stems are rather tough, so best to strip off the leafy parts.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Zeldog

          So closely related in fact that one variety forms a bulb, the other does not. The difference in texture or toughness is probably that the swiss chard gets pulled earlier, while the beet greens are older (and therefore more fibruous) because of the extended time in the ground needed for the beet bulbs to form.

        2. Cut 'em up pretty small and saute with a bunch of butter. Maybe add some good stock for a nice glaze. They take more cooking than chard or kale, and have a very gentle flavor. I love them almost as much as the beets themselves.

          1. i don't know if you saw the thread I started earlier about that my son had brought me a big box of vegetables earlier today. I don't know how to cook the greens or knew if I could mix them or not.
            I didn't get much feedback so I since I needed to get it started (don't want to waste anything) I cleaned the beets, and cut the tops about an inch from the beet. Rinse the beets, set them aside for a second. Then I rinsed and picked throught the tops, just weeding out dead stuff, grass, and anything that didn't look fresh. Washed it all under cold water, and then pulled out my biggest pasta pot, and pushed the greens into the pot to soak. I also had swiss chard, I added that too the pot, preparing it the same way.

            I tossed the water, and refilled the pot swishing the greens. Filled it up and let it sit for about an hour. Then I just took them out draining them a bit, and cut them into about 2 to 3 inch strips, staks too. I was worried about the stalks, honestly.

            Once I did that, I put them all back into the pot, filled it with cold clean water, and put it on the stove. I added about 1 T of kosher salt, and about the same in pepper.
            I let that come to a boil, then I added 3 T of bacon grease, half of a white onion and four fresh garlic cloves sliced. Let it all simmer for about 3 hours. I kept tasting the pot liqour, and added salt and pepper. Let it continue to cook on low. All was tender in about 3 1/2 hours. Just taste the liqour and season that to your own tastes. I would of added bacon but someone ate the bacon that I thought I had....ahem.

            Meanwhile I put the beets into aluminum foil (unpeeled) they were all different sizes. I rubbed olive oil all over them and then added salt and pepper, wrapped them all in one sheet, and then another (double wrapped) baked them for 1 hour at 350. At the end of the cooking time the largest one was cooked through. I tested with a paring knife and it slipped right on through easily. The smaller ones are fine. They are cooling and resting to chill and I'm making a salad with herbs (chives) and feta, olive oil and red vinegar,

            I just had a bowl of the beet and chard tops, they were scrumptions!
            I know I've eaten plenty of greens but this is the first time and cooking these, and surprisingly the stalks are even good and tender.
            Hope this helps you out! Beets are super good for us, I must eat more!

            and here is a picture for you to get an idea...

            8 Replies
            1. re: chef chicklet

              Beautiful. Going to do something similar.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                They were delicious, I must do this more often! Maybe they tasted so good because they were a gift?

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  I have been finding more and more that the organic or home grown veggies in general taste much better than in the typical produce section of the store. It must have to do with getting it so much closer to the day it is picked, and having the fruit ripen on the plant. I never liked beets until I grew them at home because my boyfriend likes them. They didn't grow well this year but when I have bought the organic they tasted just as good as the home grown

              2. re: chef chicklet

                I have to admit that for some things, I'm a lazy cook. While the pork was in the oven at 200F, I left the beets (stalks removed) for 4 hours. Then peeled them, and put them in the refrigerator (I'm out of onions). My husband insisted on working on the greens--he washed them 4x, and they're drying. We had enough good pork which pulled apart without forks for lunch (and as an afterthought, tomato sandwiches for dinner--vegs needed).

                Pulled pork, borscht and collards for tomorrow's dinner with blanched julienned stalks atop a spinach salad. May add the last peach if I don't eat it first.

                1. re: Caralien

                  If I had thought about it, I would of used a nice piece of pork, delicious they were, but the pork would of been just perfect. I had a very strong craving for old timey cooked greens for some reason (I ama sucker for that broth).
                  I kept the broth that was left, trying to figure how to work that into a meal, and then I still have the lovely beets!

                  1. re: Caralien

                    Looking at your post again, do you have a recipe for that borscht? Is yours a cold soup? Looks like I'm getting some more beets this coming weekend, and I couldn't be happier!

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      I am horrible at following recipes, but am planning to loosely base it on this one (omitting the dairy, served cold, finely chopped roasted beets, no pureeing...):

                      1. re: Caralien

                        I wouldn't call that borscht, which normally has lemon juice or another acid. I have some lightly pickled beets in the fridge which I'm going to try to make into a cold borscht. I pickled the beets so I could make pickled beet eggs for New Year's brunch, and I need to use them. I'm remembering the Mother's Borscht I used to buy in bottles eons ago, and thinking I can turn my beets into that, with some sugar or honey and onion? Any help appreciated!