Sunday, June 4, 2017

Roasted Beets!

I have just discovered roasted beets and they are amazing! There is a good chance that you are familiar with roasted beets but I was not. With my recent passion for roasted beets, I've done some research. Beets are reported to be a healthy food treasure. And a vegetable that I'll be able to grow and store.

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

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  1. I have always had a tough time embracing the beet but roasting ! Interesting ...!

    1. Either my taste buds are just changing with age... or... the roasting makes a different texture and flavor. You could try it with just one beet and see what you think. I'd love to hear if other anti-beet folks have changed their minds with just roasting.

    2. I'm up for the challenge and very curious how a roasted beet will taste 😀

  2. I've always hated beets, Dawn Rae, for the same reasons you did as a child. But I'm willing to give roasted beets a chance to change my mind. Thanks for your suggestions.

  3. The only beets I've ever eaten were canned and used in the pickling mixture for one of my childhood favorites that I still fix at least once a year, pickled eggs and beets. As far as I remember, my mother never cooked beets from scratch. Roasted beets do sound delicious and I'd certainly try them. There's something magical in the flavor that roasting produces in vegetables. Glad you've discovered beets, Dawn Rae!

  4. I love beets.....hated them as a child, but now that my taste buds have grown up somewhat, I really enjoy them. We do boil ours but not until they are pulpy. Just enough to make them a little soft. Then we cut them up and use an oil and vinegar dressing with lots of onions. Delicious. I have never had them roasted. I will try this method too! Thanks Dawn Rae, I love finding new ways to make things.

  5. I'm trying to become a beet fan, but it's still slow going. Maybe I'll try this method.

  6. Okay, I think you might have just talked me into trying beets. My husband loves them, but I can't even stand looking at them. I have never heard him mention roasted beets, which means I just might be able to surprise him with them. I do have a question though. He has a jar of beets in the refrigerator. Is there any reason I couldn't experiment with them first by roasting the previously prepared slices that are in the jar? Honestly, I know nothing about beets! lol

  7. I first tasted roasted beets when my sister roasted some she grew in her garden. I recently bought some frozen beets (cut up) and roasted them in the oven. They were good, and even my son liked them.