Before you get to these beet recipes, you need to prepare your beets. This past week, my son's MIL, Anita, who has an amazing backyard garden, shared some of her homegrown beets with me! I spent the weekend doing things with them. The first thing I did was boil some and roast some. Here are the steps I took:
- Scrub your beets really well to get any dirty debris off of them. (They come from under the ground after all!)
- Remove the tops and set them aside for later.
- Cut the area where the greens were off. leaving as small of a hole in the skin as possible. Then, cut off the root tip.
- I had about 7 medium to large beets. I put 4 of them, whole, into a pot of boiling water and boiled them for 40 minutes, until they were fork tender. I wrapped the other 3 individually in foil and placed them in a small cake pan and roasted them for 40 minutes, until fork tender. I wanted to see if one method worked better than the other. You may save more of the juice in the roasting method, but the boiled ones were slightly more tender. In both cases, the skins slipped right off.
- While the beets were cooking, I washed the beet tops thoroughly, removing any sand, dirt or debris and picking out the wilted or yellowed ones and tossing those. I shortened the stems a bit and put them all in large cups of water, like you would flowers, to keep them from wilting too quickly and put them in the fridge until I was ready to use them. This was an experiment. I also do this with fresh cilantro and it works really well! So far it is working great with the beet tops, too!
- One of my first and favorite discoveries was to put beets in Taco Soup. I usually put in shoestring canned beets, or you could slice up fresh ones. You won't even notice them in the soup. They will blend in with the tomatoes and give your soup a beautiful rich red color and you will get all of the vitamins!
- Smoothies are a great way to incorporate beets! My husband and I often enjoy healthy smoothies for breakfast. I put in about a quarter of a cooked beet, a couple of beet tops, some spinach, a banana, some strawberries or other fruit, a tablespoon of honey, a couple of ice cubes and a little water and whip it right up in my blender! The recipe changes every time, depending on what I have on hand. They are a great way to start the day off right.
- I used 3 smaller beets to make a quart jar of Sweet Pickled Beets for the refrigerator. There are a lot of recipes out there, but this is what I did:
3 cooked beets, sliced into half circles
1 c. apple cider vinegar 1 tsp. allspice
1 c. sugar 1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnmon 1 tsp. white mustard seed
Combine the liquid and the spices and sugar into a pot and bring to a simmer. Add the beet slices and simmer for about 15 min. Put into a quart jar, making sure to cover the beets with the liquid. Put a lid on the jar and keep in the fridge. These will last for a couple of weeks in the fridge. If you make a larger batch, process the jars in a hot water bath for 15 min.
- I am not sure what to call this next recipe. Sort of a Beet and Bacon Hash I guess. What could possibly be better at making something taste good than bacon? You can use just the beet tops or actually add some chopped up beets with the vegetables as well. Here is what I did:
- I had a ton of beet tops to use, and I had left over bacon from the hash. So, I thought why not BLTs, minus the L but add the BT (beet tops), and you get BBTT! (Bacon, Beet Tops and Tomato)! Those beet tops are a lot healthier than most lettuce is anyway, and eaten raw on the sandwich, they taste terrific!
- I've also used beet tops to replace lettuce in a green salad. They have a slightly peppery taste, but not super strong, so I like to add tomatoes and cucumbers to the mixture to balance out the flavor.
- Beets can even be used for dessert! I made a variation of Joy the Baker's Chocolate Beet Cake. I didn't use the juice to make pink frosting because I was starting to run low after all of my other recipes. But go to her site to see it, it is very pretty. Here is a picture of mine:
Let me know if you try any of these ideas or if you have recipes that you use with beets that you would like to share!