Why Roasted Beets are Exciting
I lived portions of my childhood years on farms. We had gardens and my mom did a huge amount of canning. I am appreciative of those experiences and having learned the skill of storing food all those years ago.
Unfortunately, my mom was not a good cook. Nor was she adventurous in the kitchen. She cooked many of the meats in a skillet with water. The only herbs or seasonings in our kitchen were salt and pepper. And I don't recall much use of the pepper. There were many things cooked in that kitchen that I swore I'd never eat again.
Beets were one of them. We canned them. And we boiled them to heat them. They were slimy, mushy, and pungent. Somehow pungent but without flavor. Oh how I gagged trying to get those down while worrying about the starving and appreciative children in other countries.
I swore I'd never eat beets again. Ever. No matter what.
Bringing Out the Best in Beets
The lesson: never say never. Roasted beets are amazing! I had them recently, by accident, in a salad served in the cafeteria at work (see the intro photo above). At first, I thought the little dark red chunks were cranberries. Or something similar. But there was such a smoky, earthy, and only slightly sweet taste that I didn't think they could be cranberries or craisins.
They were roasted beets. And they were delicious. I immediately wanted more.
Since then, I've had more. I've roasted beets several different ways and have eaten them as a side.
So far, I've roasted them wrapped in tinfoil and in a variety of dishes and pans. But so far the best method has been to roast them in my small enameled cast iron dutch oven.
They are fairly easy to prepare. I prepare beets as follows:
- cut the tops off, leave about 3/4 inch of the top
- cut most of the root off, leaving a small bit
- wash under running water with a vegetable brush
- place them in my pan and drizzle a bit of olive oil
- salt and pepper (using more than you usually would sprinkle)
- stir to coat the beets evenly
- cover and bake at 375 degrees
- bake until a skewer slides through easily (my biggest beets took about an hour - smallest took 30 minutes)
After they are baked, I let them cool until I can handle them. Then I use a paring knife to cut off the remaining stem and root. Be careful, they remain warmer under the skins. As I do cut off the tops and bottoms, much of the "skin" peels/slides off. I then peel off any remaining skin.
|summer couscous sala|
Ways to Serve Roasted Beets
In a salad
As a side (they were great with pork chops)
As an addition to my summer couscous salad (I think I'll replace the tomatoes with roasted beets)
Health Benefits & Risks
I am not a medical expert or nutritionist. Research seems to show that beets have many health benefits. They are reportedly high in fiber, vitamin C, and potassium - all things I am in need of.
There are also some slight risks to over-eating of beets for people at risk of gout and kidney stones. This is due to the beets being high in Oxalates (whatever those are).
Finally, if you eat many beets, do not be alarmed if your bathroom visits begin to show a slight "beet" color. That can happen and is reportedly harmless. If it concerns you, please consult your doctor. I just wanted to include a blurb here so you aren't startled (as I was) if it happens to you.
Beets are for Me!
I will still never again can beets and serve them after boiling. Yuck. But you can be sure that I will find a way to grow these in next year's garden (whether it's my balcony garden or a garden at The Shack). And I will be finding more ways to serve these little vegetable treasures with my meals.
|roasted beets and pork chops|