I discovered these amazing ruby-red jewels while working as the Catering Director for Whole Foods in a city near the east coast. This is not a plug for Whole Foods, only that the prepared foods section puts out some good deli food, namely beet dishes for one. I had to make a few beet dishes during my time there and the beet opened up a whole new world for me.
Now you either love them, can’t stand them or don’t know them. This post will not give you everything you need to know about beets, but just more of a curious introduction to the red purple root vegetable. So let me introduce you to the Beet. The beet came from the Mediterranean seashore and traveled to places like Rome, China, Germany and made its way to the New World for its use of sugar and of course food. Beet History-101-done for today.
The best way to get to know it if you don’t, well, all I can say is just Beet it. Here are a few ways I like to eat beets: Roasted with Olive Oil- for a sweet earthy organic taste; Boiled and Cut up with some salt and pepper; Beets and Feta; Beets and Goat Cheese; Beets and Salmon; Beets atop a green salad; Beet Soup-otherwise known as Borscht; and most recently I made a chocolate Beet cake. A few other ways: pickled- a major Southern food way especially pickled beets and eggs.
The best way to take that skin off is to peel it if you are going to roast it or make Borscht. The other way is rinse, boil and the easiest peel take off ever. If you are concerned that your hands will turn red, it goes away after a few washes or get creative-scare your kids with your “bloody hands”; use it for a freshening of your lips; pinch your cheeks -instant blush; I do none of those. Just giving you red hands options.
Beets also come in other colors as well and if you happen to see them in the store, get the orange, or yellow. Don’t forget those greens attached to the beets. Greens and Southern food go hand in hand and one of the first ways beets were utilized in the South. We like Greens. Beet Greens- wash and toss in a sauté pan with olive oil and garlic and toss with some pasta. Of late, I have heard you can make a pesto out of the greens-sweet.
My own personal make this coming week Lentils, Beets, Goat Cheese with Bits of Bacon, Leeks and Walnuts from the cookbook “The New Southern Garden Cookbook.”
I will post about that and let you know how that worked out. In the meantime, it’s the beet season so go out there and just beet it!