Tag Archives: beet greens

Beets: A Variety Pack of Easy and Delicious Techniques

21 Jul

Beets are popping up in CSA boxes, farmer’s markets and gardens (except mine, because I haven’t planted any this year since I wasn’t going to be consistently available to thin and tend them).  I never liked them as a kid, because when I was a kid they only came out of a can and were floppy and disgusting! Today I know better and I love them.

David and Goliath

David and Goliath

They are available year-round and store well, but are really a cool season crop. Grilled, roasted, boiled, or steamed…there are many ways  to skin this veg. We usually keep one around to grate raw onto salads for extra crunch, flavor, and color, paring just enough to grate some off the bulb and then sticking it back in the fridge.

Rinsing the beets

Rinsing the beets

Any vegetable that colorful has to be good for you and beets prove the rule. They contain phytonutrients called betalains which are supposed to be rich in anti-oxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties (for more on the healthful properties of beets, click here) , so eating them is a good thing. And they are very sweet, which is also a good thing, because they stand up to a lot of interesting flavors. THE GREEN ARE EDIBLE AND DELICIOUS so make the most out of your purchase following the instructions below, or try out one of the easy-peasy recipes here.

Beets are available year-round, but are best from June to October and that's when the beet greens are best too!

Beets are available year-round, but are best from June to October and that’s when the beet greens are best too!

For advice from Cornell on growing your own, go here.

BASIC PREP

Trim off the greens about an inch from the actual beet. You can eat them and they should be used within a day or two, taking out larger ribs before cooking. They can be used like most other leafy greens.

The unwashed beet roots will last about three weeks in the fridge. To use, scrub gently and do not remove the root. Do not peel before cooking. You can wrap in foil and roast at 400°F for 1-1.5 hours or simmer in salted boiling water for 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. Another option is to steam in a vegetable steamer for 30-45 minutes. the beets are done when a fork goes easily through the center. The skins will come off easily and should be removed while the beets are still warm. Use kitchen gloves or put your hands in plastic bags to handle them, as they will stain*. Flavor affinities include goat cheese, tarragon, herring and ham.

Zesty Orange Beet Salad with Beet Greens

El amor entra por los ojos -- This dish is love at first sight!

El amor entra por los ojos — This dish is love at first sight!

 USE THOSE BEETS GREENS! 

How to select, store and saute these excellent greens that come attached to your beets!

I like to mash mine into bolied yuca or boiled potato with olive oil...and that's just what I did after taking this photo.

I like to mash mine into bolied yuca or boiled potato with olive oil…and that’s just what I did after taking this photo.

Grilled Beets (No Oven Required)

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Walnuts (or feta)

Roasted Beets with Feta and Walnuts

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Golden Beets (sauteed with garlic and parsley)

Golden Beets, sauteed

Golden Beets, sauteed

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Throw Them Out! Easy Sauteed Beet Greens

3 Sep

So I’m at the Greenport farm stand with Vinny, buying fresh local stuff for our Caribbean cooking extravaganza (see chipotle jerk slow cooker chicken if you haven’t already) and just for dinner in general. Vinny selects some beets for grilling which is new for me and therefore very exciting. But I am not distracted enough by this to miss the shocking fact that Vinny has told the nice woman at the farm stand to go ahead and cut off and discard the beet greens, which she does.

Beets are available year-round, but are best from June to October and that's when the beet greens are best too!

Beets are available year-round, but are best from June to October and that’s when the beet greens are best too!

“Wait!,” I say, when I find my voice. “You are not gonna take those?”

“What do you do with them?” asks Vinny.

And he is drowned in words, as I and the nice woman at the farmstand tell him — at the same time — how delicious they are and how good for you and how easy to prepare. Vinny is always game for a new adventure, so we take the greens back with my promise that I will show him how to do them.

This veg adds color and texture to your plate. They have their own natural saltiness.

This veg adds color and texture to your plate. They have their own natural saltiness.

Beet greens, which should be removed about an inch above the root as soon as you have a chance, are full of folate, phosphorus, zinc, and a bunch of other good nutrients They are low glycemic and filling, and for more on the nutrients, click here. While beetroot will keep in the fridge, beet greens should be used quickly. They are super tasty and make for a fast vegetable side. Plus, you pay for them! Why aren’t you using them?

The greens, which admittedly cook down to nothing, were a big success and Vinny also kept reminding me to put it up on the blog. So here it is! (for a fancier recipe that incorporates roots and greens, click here)

I like to mash mine into bolied yuca or boiled potato with olive oil...and that's just what I did after taking this photo.

I like to mash mine into bolied yuca or boiled potato with olive oil…and that’s just what I did after taking this photo.

Sauteed Beet Greens

1 bunch beet greens (cut from beets about an inch from the root bulb)

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic (or ½ Tbs) minced

Salt to taste

Chop the greens roughly (or not, if you like a longer leaf), removing the tougher stalks. You can roll them up and slice strips too. Thoroughly rinse and spin the beet greens.

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a skillet on medium, letting the garlic get golden without toasting. Add beet greens, stir to coat and cook on medium until completely wilted and tender (you may need to add a Tbs of water if things get too dry). Salt to taste and serve.

Roasted Beet Salad with Orange and Beet Greens

16 Jul

We’ve been away on a camping trip for a week, but starting back up with a bang….BEETS!

Wacked-out color, floppy texture, weird vegetable discs out of a can. Ick.

That about sums up what I knew about beets as a kid. Later I got into the occasional fresh carrot, beet and apple frappés at farmer’s markets in Puerto Rico, but that was more a Saturday morning hangover-helper type thing as I was shopping for vegetables than a real affection for beets themselves.

It wasn’t until many years later that I had a food revelation at Blue Hill restaurant in Greenwich Village. I was doing a story on Chef Dan Barber for Le Connoisseur, a Puerto Rico food and wine magazine. He is a locavore chef in the tradition of Alice Waters and even owns his own farm. His other Blue Hill is located at Stone Barns, the Rockefeller organic farm center right by Sleepy Hollow, north of New York City http://www.bluehillnyc.com/.

So the chef trotted out a number of tiny dishes, including a single square of beet on a skewer. It looked like a precious jewel and the flavor was giant: intense, concentrated, sweet. I was hooked in a single morsel.

However, it wasn’t until getting involved in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that I actually had to figure out how to prepare them myself. Like, do you actually cook them? How? Do you peel them first? What about the greens?

Here are some short answers, followed by a showstopping roasted beet recipe.

Trim off the greens about an inch from the actual beet. You can eat them and they should be used within a day or two, taking out larger ribs before cooking. They can be used like most other leafy greens.

The unwashed beet roots will last about three weeks in the fridge. To use, scrub gently and do not remove the root. Do not peel before cooking. You can wrap in foil and roast at 400°F for 1-1.5 hours or simmer in salted boiling water for 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. Another option is to steam in a vegetable steamer for 30-45 minutes. the beets are done when a fork goes easily through the center. The skins will come off easily and should be removed while the beets are still warm. Use kitchen gloves or put your hands in plastic bags to handle them, as they will stain*. Flavor affinities include goat cheese, tarragon, herring and ham.

I have toyed around with this next recipe for several years now, and I think I have finally hit just the right balance of sweet and sharp. It also takes advantage of the beet greens. It is a gorgeous looking salad and the taste is, well, revelatory.

El amor entra por los ojos -- This dish is love at first sight!

Roasted Beet Salad with Orange and Beet Greens

6 medium beets with beet greens attached

1 large navel orange, peeled, separated into segments, pith and white removed

2 shallots, peeled and chopped fine

¼ -1/3 Cup red wine vinegar

¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tsp grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim greens from beets. Cut off and discard stems. Coarsely chop leaves and reserve.

Wrap each beet loosely in foil. Place on oven rack and roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool, then peel beets (use gloves or small sandwich bags to protect fingers from stains. Cut into eight wedges and place in medium bowl.

Bowl four cups of water, then add beet greens and cook until tender, just 2-3 minutes. Drain, cool and squeeze out as much water as possible. Add greens to beet bowl. Add orange segments (you may break them up) and shallots to bowl. Whisk vinegar, oil, garlic and orange peel in a small bowl to blend well and add to beet mixture. Stir to coat, season with salt and vinegar and allow to stand for at least an hour at room temperature before serving.

*You may notice that beets add color to your subsequent bathroom visits. Do not be alarmed! And kids find it very amusing.

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