Cook Beets Like a Pro with These Simple Tips

Cooking beets can sometimes be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! With these simple tips, you can become a pro at cooking beets in no time. Whether you love them roasted, boiled, or even pickled, we have you covered. Learn how to choose the perfect beets, how to properly clean them, and the best cooking methods to get that perfect texture and flavor. Don’t be afraid to add these nutritious and delicious vegetables to your next meal with these expert tips!

Cook Beets Like a Pro with These Simple Tips | Eat Urban Garden
Cook Beets Like a Pro with These Simple Tips

What Are Beets?

Beets, also known as beetroot, are a root vegetable that are popular for their sweet taste and vibrant color. They are believed to have originated in the Mediterranean and were first cultivated by the Romans. Beets have been used throughout history for their medicinal properties, including treating fevers, digestive issues, and wounds.

Characteristics of Beets

Beets have a round and bulbous shape with a smooth outer skin. They come in a variety of colors, including red, golden, and white. The color of the beet is determined by the pigments it contains. Red beets are high in betalain pigments, which have been linked to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Golden beets, on the other hand, contain yellow pigments called xanthophylls. Beets are also high in fiber and essential nutrients such as folate, potassium, and vitamin C.

Types of Beets

  • Red beets: The most popular variety of beets, known for their deep red color and sweet flavor.
  • Golden beets: These beets have a milder flavor than their red counterparts and are a vibrant golden hue.
  • Chioggia beets: Also called candy cane beets, these beets have a distinctive patterned interior with alternating white and pink rings.
  • Baby beets: Small and sweet, these beets are harvested early and pair well with goat cheese and nuts in salads.

What are the Health Benefits of Eating Beets?

Beets are a highly nutritious and delicious vegetable that you should consider adding to your diet. They are packed with essential nutrients that offer numerous benefits to your body including improving digestion, lowering blood pressure, and supporting brain function. Below, we explore some of the many health benefits of eating beets.

Antioxidant Properties

Beets are an excellent source of antioxidants, which are compounds that help combat oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can lead to cell damage and ultimately, chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. The high levels of antioxidants in beets can help protect your cells from damage and support overall health.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Inflammation is a natural response by the body’s immune system to fight against infection and injury. However, chronic inflammation is linked to chronic diseases such as arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Beets contain betaine, a compound that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, helping to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Lower Blood Pressure Levels

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Studies suggest that consuming beets can help lower blood pressure levels due to their high nitrate content. Nitrates are compounds that the body converts into nitric oxide, which helps relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. By improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure, beets can help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

How to Select and Store Beets?

Beets are delicious and nutritious root vegetables that can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads to soups. However, selecting and storing beets properly is essential to ensure the best flavor and texture. Here are some tips on how to select and store beets:

Types of Beets

There are several types of beets, including red, golden, and chioggia. Red beets are the most common variety and have a deep, earthy flavor. Golden beets are sweeter than red beets and have a milder taste. Chioggia beets have a beautiful red and white ringed pattern on the inside and a slightly sweeter taste than red beets.

  • Choose beets that are firm and have smooth, unblemished skin.
  • Avoid beets that are soft, wrinkled, or have cuts or bruises.
  • Look for beets with bright, vibrant greens attached. The greens should look fresh and not wilted or yellowed.
  • For the best flavor, choose smaller-sized beets, as they tend to be sweeter and have a more tender texture.

How to Store Beets

Proper storage is important to keep your beets fresh and flavorful. Here are some tips on how to store beets:

  1. If the beet greens are still attached, remove them before storing. The greens can be used in a separate dish or in a salad.
  2. Store beets in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with the air holes punched in. This will help prevent moisture build-up and keep the beets from getting too dry.
  3. Beets can last for up to 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator, but it’s best to use them within a week for optimal freshness.
  4. Avoid storing beets near ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables, such as apples and bananas. Ethylene can cause beets to spoil faster.

By following these simple tips, you can select and store beets like a pro and enjoy their delicious flavor and health benefits!

What are the Best Ways to Cook Beets?

Beets are a versatile vegetable that can be prepared in various ways. The cooking method you choose depends on the type of beet and your personal preference. Here are some popular methods of cooking beets that will bring out their best flavor and texture.

1. Boiling Beets

Boiling is the most common way of cooking beets. It is a quick and easy method that softens the beets without losing their nutrients. Follow these steps to boil beets:

  • Wash and peel the beets (if desired).
  • Cut the beets into bite-sized pieces.
  • Place the beets in a pot of water and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and let the beets simmer for 30-45 minutes or until tender.

2. Roasting Beets

Roasting is another popular way of cooking beets that enhances their natural sweetness. Roasting also allows the beets to retain their nutrients and texture. Here’s how to roast beets:

  • Wash and trim the beets, leaving the skin on.
  • Wrap each beet in foil and place them in a baking dish.
  • Bake beets in the oven at 375°F (190°C) for 45-60 minutes or until tender.
  • Once done, remove the beets from the oven and let them cool. Peel the skin off the beets before serving.

3. Grilling Beets

Grilling is a great way to add a smoky flavor to your beets. Grilling beets also gives them a crispy texture. Here’s how to grill beets:

  • Wash and trim the beets, leaving the skin on.
  • Cut the beets into ½-inch slices.
  • Brush the beet slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the beet slices on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until tender.
  • Remove the beets from the grill and let them cool. Peel the skin off the beets before serving.

4. Steaming Beets

Steaming is a healthy way of cooking beets that preserves their flavor and nutrients. Steaming also retains the beets’ natural color and texture. Here’s how to steam beets:

  • Wash and peel the beets (if desired).
  • Cut the beets into small pieces.
  • Place the beets in a steamer basket over boiling water.
  • Cover and steam for 15-25 minutes or until tender.

Cooking beets is easy and fun. Try different cooking methods and see which one you like best. Whether boiled, roasted, grilled, or steamed, beets offer a delicious and healthy addition to your meals.

How to Serve and Eat Beets?

If you are already a fan of beets, you know how delicious and nutritious they can be. But if you are just starting to explore this amazing vegetable, you might wonder how to serve and eat them in a way that is both yummy and easy. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Salads

Beets add color, flavor, and texture to any salad. You can roast them, shred them, or slice them thinly, depending on the recipe. They also pair well with other vegetables, such as greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, or carrots. Try this beet and feta salad for a quick and satisfying meal:

Roast 2 medium beets until tender. Peel and chop into bite-sized pieces. Toss with 4 cups arugula, 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Serve chilled.

2. Soups

Beet soup, or borscht, is a classic dish in Eastern Europe, and for good reason. It’s hearty, flavorful, and healthy, and can be served hot or cold. You can make it with or without meat, or add other vegetables, such as cabbage, carrots, or potatoes. Here’s a vegan version of borscht that is ready in 30 minutes:

Sauté 1 chopped onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons olive oil until soft. Add 4 chopped beets, 4 cups vegetable broth, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until beets are tender, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf and puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Serve with sour cream or Greek yogurt.

3. Snacks

If you need a quick and healthy snack, try beet chips. They are better than potato chips because they are lower in carbs and higher in nutrients. You can make them in the oven or air fryer, and season them with your favorite spices. Here’s a simple recipe:

Slice 2 large beets thinly with a mandoline or sharp knife. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375°F for 10-15 minutes, or until crispy. Sprinkle with paprika or cinnamon, if desired.

4. Smoothies

Beets might not be the first ingredient that comes to mind when you think of smoothies, but they are actually a great addition. They add sweetness, color, and nutrients to any smoothie, and also help to detoxify the liver. You can use cooked or raw beets, depending on your preference. Here’s a recipe that combines beets, berries, and yogurt:

Blend 1 cooked beet, 1/2 cup frozen berries, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in a blender until smooth. Add ice cubes and blend again until desired consistency.

5. Side Dishes

Beets can also be served as a side dish to complement grilled or roasted meat, poultry, or fish. They go well with herbs, citrus, and nuts, and can be served warm or cold. Here’s a recipe that pairs beets with oranges:

Roast 4 medium beets until tender. Peel and chop into bite-sized pieces. Slice 2 oranges into rounds. Arrange beets and oranges on a platter. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, 1/4 cup chopped pistachios, and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic glaze. Serve at room temperature.

These are just a few ideas to get you started with serving and eating beets. Once you discover their versatility and taste, you might come up with your own recipes and combinations. Enjoy!

Can You Use Beet Greens?

If you’re one of those people who throws out the beet greens and just uses the beetroot, hold on a moment! Beet greens are loaded with nutrients, and they’re delicious too. They’re a leafy green with red veins and stems, and they have a taste that’s similar to Swiss chard but slightly bitter. Here’s how to use beet greens in your cooking.

Why Should You Use Beet Greens?

Beet greens are a powerhouse of nutrition. They contain more iron than spinach, as well as calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and beta carotene. Eating them can boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, and support healthy bones. Plus, they’re low in calories and high in fiber, making them an excellent addition to any diet.

How to Store Beet Greens

If you’re buying fresh beets, make sure the greens are still attached and look fresh and crisp. Cut the greens off about an inch from the top of the beet, leaving the stems intact. You can store the greens wrapped in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Ways to Use Beet Greens

  • Chop them into small pieces and add them to soup or stew.
  • Saute them with garlic and oil and serve as a side dish.
  • Make a salad with chopped beet greens, sliced beets, goat cheese, and a balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Blend them into a smoothie with frozen fruit, almond milk, and a scoop of protein powder.

Beet Greens Recipe: Garlic Sautéed Beet Greens

This easy recipe is a great way to showcase the flavor of beet greens.

  1. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  3. Add the chopped beet greens and stir to coat them in the oil and garlic.
  4. Saute the beet greens for 3-5 minutes or until wilted.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Squeeze a wedge of lemon over the top and serve.

Thanks for Reading!

Now that you know these simple tips, you can cook beets like a pro! Whether you prefer them roasted, boiled, or steamed, there’s no excuse not to add this nutritious and delicious vegetable to your meals. Don’t forget to try some of our suggested recipes and let us know how they turned out. We hope you found this article helpful and informative. Come back soon for more cooking tips and recipes!

Cook Beets Like a Pro with These Simple Tips

Learn how to cook beets like a pro with these simple tips. Discover the best techniques to roast, boil, or steam beets, and make them a staple of your meals. Try our tasty recipes and enjoy the nutritious benefits of this colorful vegetable.

  • 4 medium beets (washed and peeled)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the beets into 1-inch cubes.
  2. In a bowl, toss the beets with olive oil, salt, and pepper until fully coated.
  3. Spread the beets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until tender and slightly crispy.
  4. While the beets are roasting, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens.
  5. Once the beets are done, transfer them to a bowl and drizzle the glaze on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve warm.
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