Five Ways to Eat: Beets

This month we are going to feature one healthy, wholesome food each morning and give you a well-rounded look at finding it, using it, and eating it. This is part of the food half of the Social Workout Fall Challenge; they're pairing a food with an exercise each day as one of their Feats.

Beets! Do you love them? Do you hate them? Either way, we think you should eat them. Beets are one of the treasures of the vegetable world, and you shouldn't let those canned jellied beets put you off. Here are five scrumptious ways to eat fresh and colorful beets.

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Chioggia beets, striped red and white inside.

Beets are round, hard, red little balls of vegetable that grow under the ground, and they come out all wet and spotted with dirt. They taste a little like dirt, too — but in the nicest way: sweet, mellow, and earthy like the dampness of garden after a thunderstorm. That earthy sweetness is delicious paired with sharper flavors like lemon or goat cheese.

To eat a beet you have to get rid of the paper-thin skin first. You can peel it off while it's raw (getting your fingers stained scarlet in the process; beets stain everything, even your innards). Or you can roast the beets gently until they're succulently tender, then rub the skins off with a paper towel.

Here are five of our favorite ways to eat beets.

  1. Raw! - Yes, beets are quite good raw. Slice them up and serve them with a sprinkle of chile and lemon. Delicious.
  2. Roasted with goat cheese. - The classic, all-time favorite preparation. Roast beets until they are tender and juicy, then eat them with some spicy greens and piquant goat cheese. Add some hazelnuts and you're in heaven.
  3. In a salad. - Beets make a good complement to other salad staples. Try them tossed with barley and feta in a grain salad, or with onions and horseradish cream in an elegant composed dinner salad.
  4. Pickled! - Pickled beets are just marvelous. The tangy vinegar and sweetness complements beets' earth undernotes. Try a quick batch of refrigerator beet pickes.
  5. As dessert. - Beets and their smoky, earthy sweetness are the secret ingredient in some fabulous desserts, like our velvety beet and cocoa cake, and Thomas Keller's bright red beet ice cream.

And just for reference, a few more hints and tips.

How To Roast and Peel Beets
Cabbage Beet Coleslaw
Seasonal Inspiration: Raw Beet Salads
Borscht
Seasonal Spotlight: Beets

What's your favorite way to eat beets?

(Images: Faith Durand)

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Shopping, Vegetables

Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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