Besides being delicious, beets are super good for us. They are low in calories, yet high in valuable vitamins and minerals. In fact, they contain a bit of almost every single vitamin and mineral that your body needs to be its best self. And don’t toss out the tops! Many nutrients are found in the stalks and leaves.
I have come to admire not only the beet ’s jewel-like beauty but also its earthy sweetness. Beets are quite lovely when roasted. Toss chunks of beets in a little bacon fat (or canola oil), with chopped rosemary and thyme leaves, slices of shallot, and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Roast at 375°F until the beets are tender. The roasting time will depend on how large your beets are, but allow for about 30–45 minutes. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll crumble goat cheese or feta on top before serving. A marvellous side if there ever was one.
Of course, beets are the base for borscht, a classic soup that tastes delicious with plenty of dill and a generous dollop of sour cream. And pickled beets are a lively accompaniment to savoury dishes such as tourtiére and meatloaf, plus they fit in perfectly on a charcuterie platter.
Refrigerating: Store in a loosely closed plastic bag for up to 2 weeks. If the greens are attached, leave them on until ready to use.
Freezing: Raw beets don’t freeze well. To freeze cooked beets, wash and trim the beets, leaving a ½-inch stem. Boil whole beets, covered, until tender. Slip off the skins once cool. Slice or chop and store in resealable plastic bags for up to 1 year.
Tips to Prevent Food Waste
Use the beet greens in soups, such as borscht. And, if you have beets that are a little soft and soon-to-be-tossed, boil them until tender and slip off their skins when cool. Place them into a blender or food processor (you may need to add a little water) and blend until smooth. Use the purée for risotto or add to chocolate cake batter. You can also freeze this beet purée in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
Beet and Pomegranate Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
- Place the beets in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. There should be about 2 inches of water above them. Add a pinch of salt. Cover, bring to a boil over medium high heat, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the beets are tender. This could take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of your beets. Pierce with a knife to check for doneness.
- Drain the beets and let them cool enough so that you can slip the skins off without burning yourself. Trim off and discard the root ends. Let the beets continue to cool. Meanwhile, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, mayonnaise, yogurt, poppy seeds, mustard, honey, ½ tsp salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
- When the beets are at room temperature, slice them into ¼-inch-thick rounds and arrange on a pretty platter. Drizzle the dressing over top. Add the pomegranate arils and fresh dill sprigs. Serve immediately.
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