Beets

Image

By Carol Ann Kates

The beet is a descendant of the sea beet, a wild seashore plant that grows in southern Europe. As charred beet roots were found in the Neolithic site of Aartswoud in the Netherlands, historians believe our ancestors have been eating beets since prehistoric times.

We are accustomed to seeing the common beet in supermarkets. It is round with slightly flattened ends, a dusty red exterior, and deep red flesh. But at our farmers' market you can find other varieties. Baby beets are considered the most tender and possess a delicate flavor. The Italian chioggia beet, also called candy cane, is bright red on the outside but on the inside has red and white concentric stripes. Golden beets are more orange than gold and tend to be sweeter than red beets. White beets are sweet with a less earthy taste than the deeper colored varieties. And, of course, you will find rainbow beets, whose multitude of colors make an interesting and unusual presentation. One of the advantages of purchasing golden or white beets is that they will not bleed like beets with deep red flesh.

When you buy beets with the greens attached, you are actually getting two veggies for the price of one. Beetroots can be simmered in stews, roasted, steamed, boiled or braised. They can also be used uncooked and shredded for salads or squeezed into juice. Beet greens have a wonderful earthy flavor. If the greens are small, add them to salads. Larger greens should be sautéed or cooked like any other hearty green.

I just started cooking with golden beets. I found them sweet and delicious, and they didn't leave any messy red stains. My family loved my Roasted Golden Beets and Asparagus Over a Bed of Greens recipe.

Carol Ann Kates is the author of the award-winning Secret Recipes from the Corner Market . For more information visit Secret Recipes from the Corner Market.



Storing and Cooking

Store beets unwashed in the refrigerator crisper where they will keep for two to four weeks. Cut the majority of the greens and their stems from the roots, so they do not pull away moisture away from the root. Leave about two inches of the stem attached to prevent the roots from "bleeding." Store the unwashed greens in a separate plastic bag where they will keep fresh for about four days.

Raw beets do not freeze well since they tend to become soft upon thawing. Freezing cooked beets is fine; they'll retain their flavor and texture.

Tips for Preparing Beets:

  • Cook beets lightly. Studies show beets' anti-cancer activity is diminished by heat.
  • Don't peel beets until after cooking. When bruised or pierced, beets bleed, losing some of their vibrant color and turning a duller brownish red.
  • To minimize bleeding, wash beets gently under cool running water, taking care not to tear the skin since this tough outer layer helps keep most of beets' pigments inside the vegetable.
  • To prevent bleeding when boiling beets, leave them whole with their root ends and one inch of stem attached.
  • Beets' color can be modified during cooking. Adding an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice or vinegar will brighten the color while an alkaline substance such as baking soda will often cause them to turn a deeper purple. Salt will blunt beets' color, so add only at the end of cooking if needed.
  • Since beet juice can stain your skin, wearing kitchen gloves is a good idea when handling beets. If your hands become stained during the cleaning and cooking process, simply rubbing some lemon juice on them will remove the stain.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas:

  • Simply grate raw beets for a delicious and colorful addition to salads or decorative garnish for soups.
  • Add chunks of beet when roasting vegetables in the oven.
  • Serving homemade vegetable juice? A quarter of a beet will turn any green drink into a sweet pink concoction, pleasing both the eyes and the taste buds.
  • Sauté beet greens with other braising greens such as chard and mustard greens.
  • Marinate steamed beets in fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh herbs.
Beet Recipes:

Pickled Beets

Roasted Golden Beets and Asparagus Over a Bed of Greens

Beet Risotto with Greens

Did you know?

Fruits and vegetables shipped from distant states and countries can spend as many as seven to fourteen days in transit before they arrive in the supermarket.

Quotes

"If you tickle the earth with a hoe she laughs with a harvest." ~Douglas William Jerrold

CSA 2010 is closed

  • Don't Forget to Read Farm Notes on the Center Page for updates
      • Here's a sample box from October!
      • Celery
      • Celeriac
      • Onions
      • Carrots
      • Beets
      • Cabbage
      • Winter Squash
      • Black Beans
    CSA 2011 is not yet open

    Where We Are

    Spring is Coming!
    Thursdays are open for visitation. We are packing seed orders and chatting it up with friends and family. In addition to eggs and seeds, there are also dry beans and some root stocks floating around and available. The home farm is located at 10145 Oxford Rd. We hope to see you soon!

    303-485-7818

    info@eatabbo.org

      Boulder Farmers Market re-opens Saturdays on April 2 from 8-2 and Wednesdays on May 4 from 4-8

      This year we will also have seeds at the Longmont Farmer's Market for the first 6 markets.

    Weather at the Farm

    Google Analytics Alternative