Whether you love beets or hate them – the health benefits of this root vegetable cannot be denied. Loaded with healthy nutrients, beets go by many different names, including red beet, garden beet, or beetroot. It is an excellent source of copper, folate, fiber, and manganese, and is also loaded with vitamin A, B2, C, and K. What’s more is that this highly nutritious vegetable is packed with antioxidants and possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
So, are you ready to try some beets? If you are wondering how to cook beets or have any other questions about picking or storing them, scroll down to have all your questions answered!
What are the Methods for Cooking Beets?
To maximize the earthy yet sweet flavor of beets, it is essential to know the right way to cook them. Let’s take a look at three easy ways to cook beets.
Depending on the size of the vegetable, boiling beets without removing the peel can take up to 30 minutes. To boil a beet, simply submerge the vegetable in hot water. Let the water boil until the beet is tender. Keep in mind that as the vegetable boils, some of its color leaks into the water. You can minimize discoloration by adding vinegar to the water and keeping the stem intact (at least 2 inches).
Steaming beets roughly takes around the same time as boiling them. To steam beets, boil water in a closed container at 212° F or higher temperatures. Use a steamer basket to cook the beets. Cook until it is tender. Once cooled, you can easily remove the skin from the peel.
This method takes a bit longer. It can take you anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour to roast beets, depending on the size of the vegetable and the method you choose to roast the vegetable. Roasting is the most popular method of cooking beets as it locks in the most flavor. It involves placing the beets into the oven and roasting until it is cooked.
How to Roast Beets?
There are two methods to roast beets. You can either put the entire vegetable in the oven or cut it into pieces before roasting.
Roasting Whole Beets
Coat the beets with oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Wrap them in aluminum foil and place in the oven at 400° F. It should take around 40 -60 minutes to roast beets whole.
Roasting Cut Pieces of Beets
Peel the beets and cut them into slices of around half-inch. Lay them out on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 400° F. It should take around 25 -30 minutes to roast cut pieces of beets.
Can You Eat Beets Raw?
Yes, beets are extremely versatile. You can eat the root part as well as the leaves! While the flesh of the beet has a sweet and earthy taste, the leaves taste similar to spinach with a slightly bitter taste. Raw flesh and leaves of beets are ideal for salads.
How to Pick Out Beets?
Avoid picking soft or squishy beets that feel like tomatoes. Instead, choose beets that are hard but easy to press in when you apply pressure. Pick small beets if you want to cook them in minutes. Larger beets are more suitable for raw salads. However, it is best to opt for medium-sized beets because the flavor generally diminishes as beets grow in size. This is a common trade-off in root vegetables. If you are getting beets with leaves, make sure that the leaves are small, crisp, and dark green.
How to Prepare and Store Cooked Beets?
To prepare the beets, trim them but leave an inch of the leaf stem and root attached. Boil the vegetables as described above and let them cool down. Once they have cooled down, remove the skin. Now, you have two ways to store cooked beets.
- Freezing: Shift to an airtight container and place it in the freezer for later use. You can store whole, sliced, or cubed beets in the freezer. Frozen beets can last up to 10 -12 months.
- Dehydrating: Use a dehydrator to remove all moisture from cooked beets. Once they are brittle, store in airtight jars for later use. Dehydrated beets last for about a month. However, if they are dehydrated completely and are stored in a vacuum-sealed bag, they can last for up to a year!
Tips and Tricks
If you are still wondering how to cook beets, here are some tips and tricks for you!
- Steaming beets instead of boiling them is less messy. Plus, the vegetable does not lose any color or nutrients in the water.
- When you roast beets, they may lose some colored juice. So, if you are roasting different colored beets in a single batch, partition them using aluminum foil.
- Leave the beetroot skin on while cooking. It will help retain color and flavor of cooked beets.
The nutritional value of beets makes them a healthy food option. Now that you know how to cook beets and store them for later use, it’s time you give this super healthy vegetable a try!
This is a recipe for how to roast beets in the oven. It only requires 3 ingredients: Fresh beets, olive oil, and salt.
- 6 beets
- 2 T olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400F
- Wash, scrub and dry the beets. Note that beets are quite dirty veggies so be sure to scrub them.
- Cut the top and bottom off of the beets. Then cut the beets into 1” cubes.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place the diced beets on the foiled baking sheet and pour the olive oil over the top of them. Toss the beets to coat them with oil. Sprinkle the beets with salt.
- Bake the beets in the oven for 30 minutes or until they are tender. They are done when you can easily press a fork into them. (Think of it as how you know when a baked potato is done.)
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American