Thursday, July 1, 2010

CSA - Beets

I hated beets as a kid, maybe because my mom always gave us pickled beets. As an adult, I have come to appreciate beets, but still do not actively pursue them at the market. The CSA box gave us 3 varieties the first week. I roasted one of each for a simple side dish. The orange beets were sweet and honestly much better than the traditional ones. Think they are called Golden Beets. I also made a simple beet spread with roasted beets and goat cheese.

Week two of the CSA box came with more beets. I figured I better do some serious beet research as they may become a staple during CSA season. Found some great beet information in my favorite cook book, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. I am a bit beet ignorant, here are a few pointers I found useful:

1. They keep for weeks. Best stored by removing the greens, all but an inch of stem, then placing beets in a plastic bag in the fridge. Good to know, I figured they would keep like potatoes and have left them in the pantry. Moving to the fridge!

2. When roasting, leave beets whole. Don't trip the tops off completely, just the greens. I was taking a 1/2 inch off the top to open them, this only allows them to leak and make a mess.

3. When roasting beets in tin foil, you can keep them in that foil in the fridge until you are ready to use them. You can roast all your beets on Sunday then use them throughout the week in different dishes or on salads. Love it!

4. You don't have to roast beets in the oven, you can microwave beets in a covered dish with a few tablespoons of water then microwave for 6-10 minutes. I actually used this method to cook the beets I used in my beet spread below.

Roasted Beets
Source: How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

Bunch of beets
Aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash beets well. Wrap each beet in foil and place on baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to a 1 1/2 hours until they are soft when pierced with a knife or fork. Remove from oven, let cool, slice and serve or save them for later. So simple!

Three different beets, scrubbed clean and ready to prep for roasting. According to Mark Bittman, this is how they should look when you wrap them up to roast.

This is how I prepped my first beets to roast. You should not cut the tops off as the juice will leak out and can stain, but it lets you peek in and see the different beets.

Bad picture, I was rushed with screaming kids. But the three beets made a beautiful rainbow side dish. Delicious!

Beet Spread
Source: variation on Beet Crostini recipe found on

2 Beets
4 oz Goat Cheese
Fresh French Bread
Bit of olive oil

Roast beets or microwave to cook thoroughly. Once beets are cool, puree in a food processor with goat cheese. Slice French bread into 1/2 inch slices. Brush with olive oil and toast in oven under the broiler. Serve beet spread on bread or on the side as a dip. Could be great as a fresh vegetable dip too.

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