A step to step guide to preparing and cooking beets. Add them to a salad, or make my fan favorite chocolate beet cake with them when you’re done!
Dwight Schrute isn’t the only person that likes beets. Beets can be turned into chips, added as a wonderful addition to a salad or soup, and yes – even cake. I know.
Now all of you are going to be suspect of me the next time I serve up a slice of cake.
I get it. They’re ugly, lumpy, dirty, and they kind of look like some sort of monster with tentacles. I even get that some people don’t like the earthy taste of beets. But did you know there are different kinds of beets?
Are there different kinds of beets?
There are! The most common red beet is the Detroit Dark Red, but there are so many more.
The Golden beets are my personal favorite, and the kind you’re seeing in this post. They’re slightly sweet and easy for me to eat by the handful.
Plus, they don’t stain your hands the color of blood. That’s a bonus.
Health benefits of eating beets
Believe it or not, this root vegetable is actually considered one of the most nutrient-rich superfoods!
- They are low in calories, but packed with nutrients like fiber, potassium, manganese and folate.
- And since they contain fiber, they can help your digestive health and keep you more regular.
- Beets can help fight inflammation due to their betalains, which possess a number of anti-inflammatory properties.
- Studies have shown that beets can help regulate blood pressure because of their nitrate content. Nitrates convert to nitric oxide when ingested and help dilate blood vessels.
- Beets can help improve athletic performance. Really? Really! Evidently, those nitrates can affect physical performance by improving the efficiency of mitochondria, which are responsible for producing energy in your cells.
Is it better to boil or roast beets?
Definitely roasting! If you were to boil the beets, you would essentially wind up with some reddish purple soggy sponges. And just… ew.
Roasting helps them get to the tender consistency we want, without losing their sweet and earthy flavor.
How to prepare beets for cooking
The process of preparing beets isn’t bad – it just takes some time. So if you’re part of a weekly CSA, it’s great to pick up your fresh veggies and head home to spend the rest of the day preparing your veggies for the week.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Aluminum foil
- Baking sheet
First, you’ll cut the leaves close to the tip of each beet. Cut further down than you see above – I just wanted to make sure you could see what I was talking about.
Next, soak the cut beets and leaves in water. They don’t need to be in there long, you’re just going to get some of the dirt off the beets. Frankly, this step isn’t critical because you’re going to be peeling the dirty skin off the beet later – so if you want to skip this step, go ahead!
Pat the beets dry (because water and oil don’t mix!) and coat with some olive oil in a large bowl. Make sure they’re completely covered – it’s essential for the next step.
Coat each beet with a nice thick layer of sea salt. Seriously, pile it on.
How to cook beets
Now wrap each beet individually (and completely) with squares of aluminum foil.
Place all the wrapped beets on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven at 375°F to roast for an hour. They should now be tender, but not mushy.
Remove from the oven and let them hang out on the baking sheet for a bit until they’re cool enough to handle. When you unwrap them, you’ll see that the color has changed and now they’re… well, still dirty. That’s why the next step is essential!
Peel off the skin! Just wrap a damp paper towel around each beet and pull the skin off – it should come off pretty easily.
Now they look like tomatoes, so maybe don’t set any tomatoes and beets side by side at this point. Beets are firmer than tomatoes, so if you sliced into a tomato thinking it’s a beet… well, you’ll end up with a mess. A delicious mess, but a mess none the less.
Now you can slice and dice the beets to your heart’s content! I love them diced into small pieces, which makes them easy to throw into a salad, or to grab by the handful as a snack. Yes, I snack on beets.
What do I do with beet leaves?
You can use the beet leaves for all sorts of stuff, so just rinse them thoroughly, let dry, and store for future use. Or for use right that second. I’m not going to tell you how to live your life.
How to store beets
Raw beets are a hearty root vegetable and can last up to a month if they’re stored in a cool, dark place – ideally the fridge. Just make sure you cut the greens first!
Cooked beets can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Cooked beets can also be frozen and stored in a freezer-safe container for up to 1 month.
Is it okay to eat raw beets?
It is! Both the leaves and the root of beets are edible. You might be surprised at how sweet raw beets can be – roasting them actually helps mitigate some of the sweetness.
If you wanted to avoid roasting your beets, you can peel and grate raw beets and add them to salads or coleslaw for a little crunch.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Fill sink (or large basin) with water.
- Cut the beet leaves close to the tip of each beet.
- Place beet leaves and beets in water. You can scrub the beets with your hands to get some of the dirt off, but it’s not really necessary – it’s going to get peeled off later. Pat dry the beet leaves and set aside for another purpose (they’re great in salads!).
- Dry each beet with a paper towel and then toss to coat in large bowl with olive oil.
- Coat each beet with sea salt, then wrap completely in a square of aluminum foil.
- Place wrapped beets on a baking sheet (you can coat it with another large piece of foil to catch spills if desired) and bake for 60 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
- Unwrap each beet and use a wet paper towel to peel away the outside skin. You’ll be left with nice clean beets!
- Slice or chop as desired. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. Enjoy!
- I used Golden Beets in this recipe, but it will work for any kind!
- Nutritional information is based on one average-sized beet.
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