My friend Robin from Lazy Dog Gardens gave me some beets last week after market was over. She grows a variety of produce on her 1 acre farm without the use of herbicides, pesticides and blah, blah, blah…you know, all those nasty things that are killing us and causing giant earthworms to turn into monsters that we never heard of before. I love the challenge of figuring out what else I can put chocolate in and have it taste good. Better yet, I love the look on people’s faces when they hear my next concoction! Yeah, that includes you! Read on my skeptical friend, and to see what I turned Robin’s beets into!
Dark Chocolate Beet Salad with Onions
2 cup grated beets
¼ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds
¼ cup feta cheese
Grate scrubbed beets; toss with chopped green onions and vinaigrette. Add toasted nuts and feta. Serve alone or on leaf lettuce.
Varieties of Beets:
Beets come in several varieties, from the characteristic deep crimson to gold, white, and the fanciful chioggia, that shows its alternating red and white rings when cut horizontally. Beet sizes range from large marbles to cylinders to the size of baseballs. Baby (bunched) beets are more tender than regular beets and require less time to cook. My favs are the crimson! The color just fascinates me!
Preparation, Tips and Uses:
Although you can eat beets raw, they are usually boiled, baked, steamed, fried, grilled or otherwise cooked before eating.
• Choose beets that are uniform in size so they cook evenly.
• Boil, bake or steam without peeling first to retain nutrients and color. The skin will easily rub off under cold running water after they are cooked.
• When trimming, leave at least an inch of the leaf stems attached and do not remove the root. Remove the stem and root after cooking.
• If you must peel before cooking, a swivel vegetable peeler works better than a paring knife.
• For the best flavor, bake beets instead of boiling or steaming. Wrap them in foil to avoid staining. You can also bake the beets this way on the grill.
• Plan on 3 to 4 small beets per serving.
• 3 medium beets = about 2 pounds fresh beets with tops
• 1 lb fresh beets trimmed = about 2 cups sliced or chopped
• 1 lb fresh beets trimmed = 3 to 4 servings
• 1 16-ounce can whole beets = about 2 cups
• 1 8-ounce can sliced beets = about 1 cup
• Complementary herbs and spices for beets include allspice, bay leaf, cloves, chives, dill weed, garlic, mustard seed, thyme, and citrus.
• To avoid staining your fingers, wear rubber gloves when handling beets.
• To remove beet juice from fingers, rub with wet salt and lemon juice and then wash with soap and water. For cutting boards and plastic containers, use a bleach solution.
• 1 Tblsp of vinegar added to beet cooking water will not only reduce the odor of the cooking beets, but also help them retain their bright color.
• For older beets, try adding a pinch each of sugar and salt to each cup of cooking water to revive sweetness and color.
• Beets are naturally high in sodium, so no salt is necessary in the cooking water.
• To microwave whole beets, pierce the skin and place one pound in a micro-proof dish with 2 Tablespoons of water. Cook on high for 9 to 12 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before cooling and peeling.
• To avoid bleeding of color into other ingredients, add beets just before serving if possible.
• Grated raw beets make a tasty addition to salads.
Beets belong to the same family as chard and spinach. The leaves have a bitter taste like chard, but are rich in chlorophyll. Although bitter, the greens have a higher nutritional value than the root of the beet. Both beet root and beet greens are very powerful cleansers and builders of the blood. Betacyanin is the phytochemical in beets that gives it its rich ‘amethyst’ color that significantly reduces homocysteine levels. The beet’s iron content, is not high, but it is of the highest and finest quality that makes excellent food for blood building. This renders it highly effective in treating many ailments caused by our toxic environment and surrounding. The greens are extremely healthy and completely edible.
Choose beet roots that are firm and unwrinkled. With the greens attached, beets can keep for only three to four days in the fridge as the root has to supply moisture to the leaves. Beets with round bottoms are sweeter than flat-bottomed ones. Eat beets fresh to enjoy the flavor better. Do not overheat beets when cooking as heat destroys all the essential nutrients. Remove the skin before cooking.
Dark Chocolate Beet Greens
1 lb beet greens
5 – 6 strips bacon (chopped)
1/4 c chopped yellow onion
1 large garlic clove (minced)
3/4 c water
1 Tblsp granulated sugar
Wash and drain the greens well; cut away any heavy stems; cut leaves into bite-size pieces. Cook bacon, add onions, cook over medium heat 5-7 minutes until onion softens and start to brown. Stir in garlic; add water to the hot pan, scaping bottom of pan to loosen any particles from bottom. Add sugar and stir. Bring mixture to a boil. Add beet greens, gently tossing in the onion mixture so greens are sufficiently coated. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-15 minutes until the greens are tender. Stir in vinaigrette.
Recipe inspired by Simply Recipes