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Aug 8, 2009 12:07 PM

Best way to peel fresh beets...

ok, I've peeled, and roasted and I always end up staining my hands, dish cloths etc., and usually end up with a big mess, and hardly any more beets. Does anyone have a better method?

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  1. Usually you peel beets after cooking. I boil beets rather than roasting. Cut off the ends of each beet and boil until cooked through. Drain and add cold water to the pot. You can then use your hands to slip the skins off under the water and there's no mess.

    (You can then strain that water and add lemon juice and sugar for beet lemonade -- try it.)

    I'm sure that peeling after roasting is also easier than peeling fresh, but others will be able to advise you better.

    1. Roast with peels on and slip skins off after they are cooked.

      3 Replies
      1. re: emilief

        Latex gloves are a lifesaver for peeling roasted beetses. adam

        1. re: emilief

          I roast all the time; the peels are "easier" to remove, but the don't slide off like a banana or onion. I still need a knife -- just pulling usually pulls off a hunk of flesh.

          My best advice: use gloves or buy golden beets (don't stain).

          1. re: emilief

            Peel immediately after cooking, using a paper towel to rub the skin off. I boil them, so you can run under a cool faucet at the same time.

            1. re: Harters

              Even those cheap yellow ones they have in variety stores and drugstores. You can tolerate temperatures 10º or more higher than you normally can and they give plenty of traction for slipping off the skins. And then when you're done just leave them on and wash them with detergent and hot water, and dry off on the dish towel.

              1. re: Will Owen

                I use those gloves on occasion, but I have also found that if I peel them quickly using a paring knife under cold running water, and then quickly wash my hands, I avoid the staining. I like to roast beets rather than boil them. The skins on mine never just "slip off".

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Mine don't really "slip" off, but rubbing at them with a rubber-clad thumb works better for me than a knife. And if I do use a knife it's a table knife rather than a sharp one, since I want to avoid cutting into the flesh.

                  Responding to MGZ, below, I firmly believe one should never peel beets before cooking, no matter what the method, and always leave at least 1" of stalk above and as much root as possible below. I roast mine either with other vegetables in a foil-covered glass pan, or individually foil wrapped. Using rubber gloves to skin the beets allows one to clean up with hot water and detergent much more quickly than washing bare hands with warm water and hand soap, in addition to the fact that the gloves allow one to peel the beets while they're hot enough to do that easily.

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    What is the rationale regarding the stalk and the root? Suzanne Goin says the same thing, so I do it, but no idea why.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      The beets will bleed out of those if they're cut too short, and the shorter the worser. My beets always come out sweet and juicy and beet-y, so I'm gonna keep on doing what I'm doing. Like, right now, thinking that heating up the house a bit for a mess of roasted root veges might very well be worth it!

                      1. re: Will Owen

                        Thanks for the info - I was just curious since it was one of those things I do without thinking about why. I've been roasting things (beets, chicken, etc.) early in the day lately, then serving them at room temp.

            2. I simply peel the beets with a vegetable peeler before roasting. Does that make me some sort of outcast heathen? I remember reading James Beard's assertion that such an approach "lets the juices out" or something, but I like the carmelization I get on the beets. Certainly, they must retain more flavor than when boiled? Moreover, I find that I can simply wash my hands with soap and water and remove the stain. Am I swimming upstream on this???

              6 Replies
              1. re: MGZ

                Whatever floats your boat, MGZ.....(~_^)
                Anyway, I use 2 paper towels to remove the skin from beets after roasting.

                1. re: MGZ

                  There are times I want to use raw beets. It's no harder to peel a beet with a Y peeler than a carrot. I don't always use gloves and when raw there is less liquid given off when peeling.

                  If I'm roasting them then I peel them after the roast.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    MGZ - I totally agree. I can't imagine that being a horrible thing.....

                    I do find that the golden beets peel easier after boiling than the red ones. For thoise, I parboil then roast, for reds, I peel. It could be a local thing.

                    1. re: MGZ

                      I have started to peel them before roasting, too - if I take the skin off after, the yummy salty caramelized skin goes in the trash, and that's no good - so this way, I have the yummy roasted crunchy bits there.

                      However, I've also roasted them after a very good scrubbing of the skin, and that works, too - I do try to keep skin on veggies if I can.

                      ETA: I buy beets (a mixed bunch) at the farmers market, peel, quarter, roast, and leave them in the fridge to snack on. they're like candy on their own.

                      1. re: MGZ

                        I want to roast my beats in oil and rosemary, I want them to be chopped at the end. I feel like if I cook them whole the flavors won't coat all the surfaces that will eventually be exposed, so I had planned on peeling them, but everything I've come across was telling me to cook them whole to peel them. I'm very relieved that you're going upstream

                      2. My SO got some of those yellowish striped beets. He roasted them, then cooled them, then pulled the skins off. I wasn't sure that was going to work after the beets cooled, but it did. Worked great.

                        The beets were awesome, cool, just by themselves without anything on them, as a small side dish.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: karykat

                          I have a beet-wrangler routine, developed after trial and error: I roast mine with the skins on, then suit up with a pair of yellow rubber dishwashing gloves and my OXO veggie peeler - the grips on the gloves help with the slipperiness and the gloves rinse clean for the next time. When I've tried peeling post-roast, they don't taste nearly as good - dried out, weird, etc.

                          1. re: gansu girl

                            Did you mean "pre-roast" instead of "post-roast?" Just checking/curious....

                            1. re: rudeboy

                              yep, that's what I meant! new rule for GG, no posting after 10 p.m. good catch, thanks.