Beets may not be the tastiest veggie out there, but despite the earthy and dusty taste, they are packed full of nutrients that our body requires. Beets are sometimes used as natural food coloring because of the presence of the phytonutrients called betalains in them. The health benefits of beets go on and on, but consumers tend to avoid sweet earthy vegetables.
Well, beets have an earthy taste, but raw beets are also sweet, and the flavor of the final product all depends on how you cook it. The most common way to cook beets would be to boil them, but when you have a salad recipe on hand, it becomes a little bit tricky. This article aims to take you through the process of preparing beets for any salad recipe.
Tips to Cook Beets for Salad
The flavor of beets all comes down to how they are prepared, and when it comes to salads, you need to know exactly what you are doing to avoid ruining your meal. Below are tips on how you prepare beets so to eliminate the earthy, dusty flavor.
Buy the best beets – when making the best beets salad, everything counts, and that also includes the beets you get from the grocery store. When you shop for beets, you should avoid older and softer beets; go for the firmer and fresher ones instead; the soft or soggy beets tend to have a strange or earthy flavor that would not be good for salads.
Do not discard the leaves – when getting beets from the store, look for the ones with dark green leafy tops because these leaves are loaded with nutrients. If you have some homegrown beets, then you should not be discarding the leaves. You could incorporate these beets green into other meals either by sauteing or boiling them; you could also prepare some green salad with them.
Refrigerate beets – just like other fresh veggies, beets will remain fresh when stored in the refrigerator. If you are not in haste to use the beets you purchased, you can keep them in the refrigerator overnight, or you could simply keep them in a bowl of water.
Wash beets thoroughly – freshly harvested beets tend to have a lot of dirt, and store-bought beets are not so different either. So after soaking in a bowl of water overnight, you should follow up by washing the next day thoroughly. Get a portable soft brush and scrub the beets firmly until they appear clean and red; rinse them off in clean water after washing.
Steam beets – there are different ways to cook beets, but steaming allows the beets to retain a lot of nutrients that would be lost in the boiling process. To steam beets, simply place them in a steamer if you have one, but if you don’t, suspend them on a trivet over simmering water for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Add coconut oil – despite the many nutrients retained in the steaming process, steamed beets are not the sweetest; they will still retain that dreaded earthy taste. To combat this unappealing flavor, you should add some coconut oil to the beets to give them a much sweeter flavor.
Peel beets – when you pick firm beets, they may not be so easy to peel or cut at first, but after steaming them for an hour, the peels should come off easily. Just rub the beets thoroughly with your palms, and the peels should fall off; the only thing to worry about is the red color which can be disastrous to fabrics and anything in its path.
Cut beets – after steaming beets, they would become softer and easier to cut. How you choose to cut your beets is completely optional, but for salads, what works best is cutting beets into small bite-size cubes; these cubes are beautiful to look at, and you should also be adding some garnishes to them.
Season your beets – it may not look like it would do much at first, but seasoning your beets help in combating their unappealing flavor of it. Just a simple salt and pepper combo would go a long way. You can also add some mints, lime juice, or any dressing.
Other Preparation Methods for Beets
Boiling – Boiling is another fast way to cook beets; it is easier than every other cooking method for beets. Boiled beets tend to have a more subtle flavor that can fit into any recipe.
Roasting – roasting beets is a fun and creative way to prepare beets. It may not be as fast or easy as the other methods, but roasted beets have a sweeter flavor.
Juicing – Juicing is another way to prepare beet, and itt does not require cooking; you simply use a juicing machine to squeeze the juice out, and you can add it to other juices or drink it on its own.
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Cooking Time for Beets
|Cooking Procedure||Cooking Time|
|Boiling beets||20 to 40 minutes|
|Steaming beets||45 minutes to 1 hour|
- Start by washing your beets with a vegetable brush or any other soft brush
- Pour about 2 to 3 cups of water into a pot and place a steel trivet on top; you can also use a steamer if you have one on hand
- Place your beets suspended over the water on the trivet, cover the pot, and turn on the heat
- Allow the water to come to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer
- Set your timer for 45 minutes and allow to steam
- After 45 minutes, check the beets with a fork or a knife to see if they have become soft (which they should)
- When the beets are at a safe temperature for your hands, remove them from the pot and start cutting.
- Use a small knife to cut the top and bottom of the beets, and proceed to peel the skin with your hands.
- Chop beets into bite-size cubes, and place them on a plate
- Add some chopped white onions, chopped parsley, chopped red and yellow bell peppers, chopped green onion, and some ground cauliflower
- Also, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and a clove of minced garlic too
- Add 1 teaspoon each of mint, cilantro, and red ground pepper
- Add ¼ cup of olive oil, some salt, and more parsley
- Give everything a good toss to mix properly
- Transfer to serving plates and enjoy
If you always shy away from beets, after tasting this beet salad, you will fall in love with beets. You can also enjoy beets with any other dressing of choice. If you would like to see other recipe ideas, please check out this video recipe.