If you’ve ever had a disappointing experience with canned beets, don’t let it discourage you from enjoying this incredible root vegetable. Learning how to cook beets properly can open up a whole new world of flavors and textures. In this article, we’ll explore four easy methods to cook beets and unleash their full potential. But first, let’s talk about why beets are worth your attention.
Beets are not only delicious but also incredibly nutritious. The entire beet, including the roots, stems, and leaves, is edible. While the root bulb is the most commonly consumed part, you can also enjoy the red beet and golden beet varieties. These vibrant vegetables are packed with B vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making them a powerful addition to a healthy diet. They are also rich in nitrates, which can help lower blood pressure and enhance endurance performance for athletes. And let’s not forget about the beet greens! These dark leafy greens are a fantastic source of calcium, vitamins, and iron.
How to Cook Beets: Step-by-Step Guide
Now that you know about the nutritional benefits of beets, let’s dive into the cooking techniques that will elevate their flavor.
Boiling is a classic method for cooking beets. Start by submerging the beets in hot water and cook them until tender. You might notice some color seepage from the red beets into the cooking liquid. To minimize this, you can try keeping at least 2 inches of the stem intact and adding a little vinegar to the water. Although it may not entirely prevent color seepage, cooking the beets with the peel on can help retain more pigment. Boiling typically takes around 30 minutes, depending on the size of the beets.
Steaming is a fantastic option for retaining the nutrients in beets. By heating the water in a closed vessel, you create superheated vapor that cooks the beets with minimal water usage. To ensure proper steaming, make sure the water doesn’t touch the steamer basket, allowing the steam to circulate around the beets. Steam the beets until they are tender and the skin easily releases from the peel, usually around 30 minutes, depending on their size.
3) Whole Roasting
For a more flavorful approach, try whole roasting. Begin by coating the beet skin with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then, wrap the beets in foil pouches. This method infuses the beets with additional flavors while creating a vibrant taste profile. However, it does require a bit more time and attention. Roasting usually takes around 40 to 60 minutes at a high temperature of 204°C (400°F). Remember to check the beets occasionally to test for doneness.
4) Cut and Roast
If you’re short on time but still want maximum flavor, consider peeling and cutting the beets into wedges before roasting them. This technique encourages Maillard browning, which results in deeper flavors for each slice. To prevent the red beets from staining the other vegetables, you can section them off with aluminum foil on the baking sheet. Roasting at 204°C (400°F) for about 25 to 30 minutes should do the trick.
Cook Tip: Peeling Beets
Once your beets are cooked and cool enough to handle, it’s time to peel them. To make peeling easier, leave the skin on while cooking. When you’re ready, use a paper towel to gently rub off the skin. This method minimizes stains on your hands and towels. If you do end up with beet stains on a cutting board, scrubbing salt on the surface before washing can help lift the pigment.
Don’t Waste Beet Greens!
Don’t toss the beet greens! These nutritious leaves are often overlooked, but they’re a treasure trove of flavor and health benefits. Similar to kale or collard greens, beet greens can be sautéed with a little oil and seasonings to create a tasty and healthy side dish.
Now that you have mastered the art of cooking beets, it’s time to incorporate them into your meals. Don’t forget that beets can be enjoyed raw as well, offering a crispy and sweet treat. Get creative and explore the many versatile ways to enjoy beets in your favorite dishes.
For more beet-inspired recipes, head over to Ekilove and discover a world of delicious possibilities.
More Beet Recipes:
- Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese
- Farro Salad with Root Vegetables
- Fried Goat Cheese Salad with Raspberry Dressing
- Roasted Beet Hummus