Cooked beets, also known as garden beet or red beet, are a rich, sweet root vegetable that has been consumed for centuries by cultures around the world. These ruby-colored orbs of nutrition can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, or roasted – making them incredibly versatile ingredients for meals. Cooking beets is a simple process, and their flavor and texture make them wonderful additions to salads, soups, and other dishes.
Beets have long been a favorite vegetable in many cultures, due to their naturally sweet taste and remarkable nutritional value. High in fiber and folate, low in calories and fat, and a good source of minerals and vitamins, beets provide a wide variety of health benefits. Eating cooked beets may help reduce the risk of cancer, aid digestion, improve circulation, and even provide relief from headaches. On top of these potential health benefits, cooked beets are just plain delicious.
Cooking beets is not difficult. To start, you will need to choose either fresh beets from the grocery store, or from the farmer’s market. It is best to select beets with firm, blemish-free skin, and if you’re using freshly picked beets, try to use them within a few days of harvesting. To prepare beets for cooking, first give them a good wash. Then, remove the stems and leaves and discard them, leaving the root of the beet intact. Peel the beet and cut into cubes or slices, depending on the recipe.
Beets can be boiled, steamed, or roasted, though they can also be eaten raw. Boiling is a simple way to cook beets. Place the cubed or sliced beets into a pot of boiling water, along with some salt and/or spices. Allow the beets to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until they are tender when pierced with a fork. You can also steam beets in a steamer insert placed over a pot of boiling water for about 10-15 minutes.
Roasting beets helps to concentrate their flavor, and can be done in the oven or the microwave. In the oven, cut the beets into cubes or wedges and place on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with some oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast for about 30 minutes at 400?F. For a quicker cooking time, you can also cook peeled beets in the microwave. Place cubed beets in a glass bowl and cover them with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking process.
Cooked beets can be served warm right away, or cooled and stored in the fridge for up to a week. Once cooked, beets can be served as a side dish, or used in salads, soups, stews, or casserole recipes. Beets are also seen in many vegan and vegetarian dishes and are a great way to add color and flavor to your plate.
Whatever your choice of cooking beets may be, these ruby root vegetables are sure to delight and amaze. Their sweet and earthy flavor, combined with their impressive nutritional value, makes them a vegetable worth celebrating. Enjoy cooked beets with abandon, and reap the health benefits.