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.
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.
- Raw! - Yes, beets are quite good raw. Slice them up and serve them with a sprinkle of chile and lemon. Delicious.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pickled! - Pickled beets are just marvelous. The tangy vinegar and sweetness complements beets' earth undernotes. Try a quick batch of refrigerator beet pickes.
- 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.
What's your favorite way to eat beets?
(Images: Faith Durand)