Beets Me? How to Use Your Beets!
So, you’ve received fresh beets in your CSA share again and you’re wondering what to do with them. You’ve only seen and maybe even tried beets when they’re in the lineup of salad bar toppings. Not to worry!
We grow beets on the farm from early spring to late November. They are in the lineup of root crops along with red & Daikon radishes, carrots and Hakurei turnips. We love them and hope you will, too, after trying some of our favorite ways to use them.
Beet roots also have incredible keeping power. Remove the greens/stems from the roots and store the roots in a bag or container in your refrigerator. They will literally keep for several months. We store a few fall harvested beets to enjoy all winter long. The greens are like salad leaves and should be used up in a week or so.
Keep it Raw
The beets from our farm are tender and sweet enough to eat raw. For topping a salad, trim both ends, peel and slice thinly. Great with sliced apple, cabbage, cauliflower. The greens and pretty purple stems are perfect for including in your salads, too. Stems can be a fun alternative to celery. Kids love purple stems they can eat with your favorite veggie dip.
Raw and cooked beets go very well with balsamic vinegar and we often dress our beet infused salads with a balsamic inspired dressing.
We make a delicious raw grated beet salad by grating trimmed peeled roots manually or in a food processor and tossing with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sliced fresh oranges along with the zest. If you don’t have the oranges, use a couple tablespoons orange juice or leave it out.
Oven roasting vegetables brings out their sweetness. We’ve roasted beets sliced in half or 1/4″ slices if we’re in a hurry. We don’t peel our roasted beets but you can certainly do so if preferred. Drizzle any veggies you’re roasting with olive oil and brush or toss to coat the pieces. We often roast a few different veggies on the same sheet pan – carrots, cauliflower, onions – and the result is a medley of caramelized, delicious tender veggies to serve as a side.
This recipe comes from our Australian friend who says beets are popular down under. They even serve them on their burgers! This is your ultimate simple recipe. All you need is beets, water and vinegar. Place washed and trimmed beets in pot and cover roots with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until they are tender checking for doneness with a paring knife. If you have multiple sizes of beets, keep watch on your smaller roots so they don’t overcook. Remove tender beets from the water and reserve cooking water. Allow beets to cool until you can handle them. Run roots under cool water and skins should slip off with little effort.
Place cooking water in a bowl leaving the last bit in the pot to avoid any debris left from the simmering. The water will be a dull color but wait! Add apple cider vinegar to the cooking water – maybe half the volume of the cooking water. The cooking water will turn a brilliant purple beet color. Now add the sliced beets back to the cooking water. Place in fridge and serve chilled. If you need a sweeter pickled beet, add honey or sugar to the cooking water/vinegar mix and stir until combined.
Tweaks: Add a tablespoon of pickling spice to the simmer water and leave the spices in when you add the vinegar and sliced beets.