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about steaming beets

July 12, 2010

BEETS!

Beets are one of the least understood vegetables. They are sweet, delicious and meaty when fresh and cooked right, but a lot of people experience beets from cans or boiled to death in terrible restaurants as children and thus create an aversion to anything beet like. If you want to cook with beets, but find yourself slightly perplexed at how to go about buying or cooking them, here is a great way to get started. If you can find them (or better yet grow them) small fresh beets with the leafy greens still attached are the best to use. They are best when they are not too big. Shoot for beets slightly larger than a golf ball. Smaller beets will generally have a sweeter flavor than larger ones, but if you can only find big ones in the grocery store, they will taste just fine.

To clean the beets, cut off all the stems and set the greens aside (do not throw away the greens.) under a gently running tap, use a small knife to remove all the leftover stem bits and scrape off any dirt from the beet. Cut the cleaned beets into whatever size you like. To cook the beets set up a steam basket in a medium size pot with a little water and bring to a boil. When the water starts steaming you can throw in the beets and put the lid on. After a few minutes you can check them with a fork. They should be a little soft, but still firm. Cooked beets will start to taste sweet, under cooked beets may have a slight bitter flavor. When they feel ready remove all the beets from the pot with a pair of tongs and finish cooking them as your recipe recommends. If you are going to use them later, or are making a cold beet dish put them into a bowl of ice water, or rinse in a bowl under cold tap water. This stops the cooking process. Once they are cool you can put them away until they are ready to use. They are delicious served hot with melted butter, salt and fresh basil.

If you have beet greens they can be cooked the same way as the beet. They cook similarly to kale and chard and can be used in any recipe that calls for one of those. Break off any excess stem from the leaves and wash them very well in a salad spinner to get rid of any dirt. When the beets are done, use the same pot to steam the leaves until they turn dark green. When they are ready, shock them in cold water. Give them a minute to cool, then squeeze all the water out of them. They are ready to go.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 21, 2010 11:44 pm

    Zweet

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