Whether you have a love affair with them or not, you can eat every inch of a beet, making use of both the greens and the roots! There’s something for everyone.
I have to confess right at the start that beets are not my favorite vegetable. I think my mother served me way too many of them when I was a child, and they were always deep red and bleeding into my mashed potatoes. She said they were good for me, so I ate them, but without much pleasure.
However, I always thought I made it up to the beets by loving the greens!
Yes, tasty beets!
I’ve come to terms with them over the years and actually found a couple that I like! Yes, like. A golden beet, if surrounded by other vegetables, is absolutely fine. But the one that catches my eye is the Italian heirloom chioggia. It is sweet, and it doesn’t taste like dirt! It is also well behaved and rarely bleeds into anything else on the plate. It’s pretty!
While my mother and aunts boiled the beets to death when I was a kid, I prefer to steam or roast them, just until tender. They are also good sautéed with onions.
The greens cook much faster than the roots, so I cook them separately, not forgetting the stems!
Beets are packed with nutrition! B vitamins, Vitamin C, iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, and potassium, they can help reduce blood pressure, the risk of colon cancer, and they are filled with detoxifying nutrients. The greens have even more nutritional value, being one of those dark, green leafy vegetables we’re told to eat. They are packed with the cancer-fighting flavonoids B-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. They are a great source of Vitamins A, C, and K, B complex vitamins and minerals magnesium, copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
So, I guess mother was right.
Heirloom Beets and Greens
This is really a technique, not a recipe!
1 large bunch of Chioggia or golden beets
Balsamic or Sherry vinegar
Malden or a coarse salt and pepper
Cut the beets from the greens and scrub the roots well. Trim off any long ends if you like. You can peel the beets if you like, but it is not necessary in the least.
Cut any large beets in half. If I have a few really large ones, I’ll slice some so they cook quicker. It also looks inviting on the plate.
Set up whatever steaming system you have. I use my 5 1/2 quart, 12″ stainless steel sauté pan that has a tight fitting lid and my all-purpose steamer basket. Put water in the bottom of the pan up to, but not touching the bottom of the steamer.
Place the larger beets on the bottom and the smaller ones on top. If you have a lot, cook them separately.
Steam until they are tender, start looking at 8 minutes, this will depend on the size of your beets.
Remove the beets from the pan, cover with a lid or foil to keep warm, and add the greens to the pot. These will cook quickly, so keep an eye on them. You want them to retain their color. Alternately, you can cook the beets to almost done, then add the greens on top if there is room in the pan.
Arrange the greens and beets on a platter in any way you like, and drizzle with the vinegar. You can use any vinegar you like here, and as much or little as you like, or omit it altogether and dot it with butter.
Sprinkle with flaked sea salt and a little freshly ground pepper and serve.
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