The Magic of Beets
Beets weren’t one of my most favorite veggies, however, when I started encountering the golden and other colored milder tasting beets, I became very fond of them. So, when I saw these three gold beets at the market, I couldn’t resist. Beets are truly multi faceted because not only can you use the root but the greens as well. So for dinner last night, I devoured both and it was truly divine.
The history of beets is very interesting. It has had a long history of cultivation stretching back to the second millennium BC. Aristotle and Theophrastus mention them. This little root has been used for food, sugar, fodder, food color, medicine and health, as an aphrodisiac, juice, and wine. It can be consumed deliciously cold or hot. Various countries of our world have made this root into a specialty dish and it’s even used as an integral part of a Jewish prayer for Rosh Hashanah. And that is just the root—because the tops are delectable as well. So here are two of my favorite recipes for this miraculous vegetable.
Beets Baked in Foil (oh so easy and delicious—try to buy beets which are uniform in size so that they’ll cook evenly. Additionally, you can store just the uncooked roots in a plastic bag in the frig and they’ll last for weeks.)
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Wash/scrub the beets well and leave an inch or so of the green top on to minimize bleeding.
- Wrap them individually in foil and place them on a baking sheet.
- Cook, undisturbed, for 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours—until a think-bladed knife pierces the beet with little resistance. (They may cook at different rates—so watch for that.)
- You can peel them right away and serve them sliced or whole with butter or olive oil, any vinaigrette, or freshly squeezed lemon juice. I like them with just butter or olive oil.
- You can also remove, cool and refrigerate them in their foil until ready to peel and use. They’ll last for several days. Then you could serve them cold with a good dressing; or sliced mixed with olive oil, balsamic, ground pepper and salt served over some Greek yogurt. A bit of fresh chervil to top this last suggestion will make this a perfect dish.
Beet Greens: They actually were “the in- green” eons ago—that is until spinach came along.
- Wash the beet leaves, cut and then chop the stems. Separately chop the leaves.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil; salt it. Cook the stems until they are almost tender (about 5 minutes) and then add the leaves. Cook a couple minutes more or until it’s tender. Add butter or olive oil at the very end as well as S&P to your taste. Additionally you can also add the ingredients in the optional #4 paragraph below.
- Optional: add sunflower seeds (or other seeds of your desire) and raisins at the very end. If you wish you can pre- soak the raisins in warm water for 10 minutes. Also, you can pre- roast the seeds in a pan.