I don’t know why, but nobody knows how to cook fresh beets anymore. I learned from my mom and grandma. Fresh beets are delicious; canned beets should only be used for pickling. Ancient civilizations used beet juice to dye things. Be careful. That stuff will make permanent stains.
Small beets are sweeter than large beets, which can taste kind of bitter.
- Keep uncooked beets in the refrigerator and they’ll last for weeks.
- To cook, cut off most of the beets tops, or greens. (Beet greens are edible and good, I’m told, but I’ve never gotten around to cooking them. See somebody else for that.)
- Cover the beets with water and bring to a boil—no need to wash them because they’re going to boil clean.
- Put a lid on the pan to keep the juice from splashing (this is why mom and grandma wore aprons.).
- Turn the heat down and simmer for a while. Beets are a root vegetable, like carrots and potatoes, which means they are hard and will take a while to cook.
- Every once in a while, stick a fork into a beet. When the beet easily slides off the fork, it’s done.
- Make sure the sink is empty, then turn on the cold-water tap.
- Spear a beet with a fork, then hold it under the running water and squeeze off the skin and top!
- It’s really fun. It’s called “blanching” and the skin comes right off. (And the soil stays in the bottom of the pan you boiled the beets in.) (And your sink will be full of beet garbage.)
- When the beets are cool, dice ’em or slice ’em.
- Serve them with butter, salt and pepper, or just plain.
Things the doctor doesn’t know: when you poop the next day, don’t be scared. The beet juice turns feces dark reddish-brown, and you can panic and think you’re hemorrhaging internally. You’re not. You’re just eating fresh beets.