Food from the Hart

Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

Fall Produce: Beets

In Product Spotlight on September 22, 2011 at 11:41 am

Tomorrow is the official start of fall and time begin ushering in all the wonderful produce autumn has to offer.  Beets are one of falls best bounties. Full of sweetness and bursting with color, beets become tender and packed with flavor when cooked properly, making them an ideal addition to salads, side dishes and soups.  We often think of beets as a root vegetable, however the whole plant is edible. You can use the leaves in salads or sauté as you would kale or Swiss chard.

Picking the Best

We most often think of red beets, but in fact beets come in a variety of colors including yellow, stripped (called Chioggoa) and white.  To find these more unusual varieties your local farmers market or specialty grocery store is your best bet. When picking your perfect beet, look for smooth skins with firm roots.  Give the root a little tap, if it feels flimsy move on. To make sure you are getting the freshest, buy beets with the greens still attached.  The brighter the greens the better.

Once home, keep beets fresh by storing in a cool place like the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.  Beet roots last for 2 weeks and the leaves hold for 2-3 days.

Preparing Beets

There are two basic ways to make beets.  The easiest method is to place whole, unpeeled beets in boiling salted water and cook until fork tender.  When ready, simply use a paper towel to rub the skin off.  You can also roast them.  For this method,  peel and cut beets into pieces and roast in a 400 degree oven with olive oil, salt and pepper until fork tender.  You might consider using gloves when handling beets, their juice tend to stain everything from cutting boards, dish towels, counter tops, even your hands!

Surprising Combinations

Beets are more versatile than you might think. Try pairing cooked beets with a strong salty cheeses like Maytag blue, Roquefort or sheep’s milk feta.  These pairings work great in a simple baby green or arugula salad. Orange is another classic flavor match.  The acidity and brightness from the orange plays nicely against the earthiness of the beets.  Try whipping up an orange vinaigrette or adding orange zest to you next beet dish.

Add Beets to Your Next Meal

  • Toss boiled or steamed beets in a composed arugula salad with feta cheese, walnuts, orange slices and a soft citrus vinaigrette.
  • Roast with carrots, squash, turnips and parsnips for a wonderful root vegetable medley to go with nearly any protein.
  • Saute beet greens with spinach or watercress along with ginger and garlic. Add roasted beet wedges into the pan and deglaze with orange juice and cider vinegar.  Let the liquid reduce and serve warm.
  • Try adding a few slices of boiled beets on your next hamburger for a unique flavor twist.

 

 

 

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