French Beets from Fairway

[It's another day of spotlighting a potential new writer for The Kitchen. Today we feature Chris, from Brooklyn. Welcome, Chris!]

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The sweet earthly flavor and deep red color of beets works well in salads, side dishes and even sandwiches, but I don’t usually make beets at home. They take a long time to cook and their juice leaves a bloody mess everywhere it touches. I’ve heard that if you steam beets, their red juice can even stain your ceiling.

I stopped serving beets except as a special treat. Then, at the beginning of the summer, I found these vacuum packed pre-cooked beets from France in the produce section of Fairway. They come fully cooked, peeled and ready to eat.

I tried both the organic ($2.99, 500 grams) and the standard beets ($1.19, 250 grams), both by Rocal (http://www.rocal.fr/). While I liked the larger size of the organic beets, I thought the flavor of the smaller standard beets was better. The non-organic beets have a deeper, sweeter taste, while the organic beets had a slightly more bitter taste.

I used an egg slicer to make quick, perfect beet slices. They were a quick way to add flavor and color to my summer salad.

The flavor of these vacuum packed beets is a bit flat, probably because the beets are steamed and packed in their own juice without salt, pepper or oil. This didn’t matter in the summer salads I used them in, but it would probably be more noticeable in a dish like borscht where the beets are the main attraction.

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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.