The Ultimate Guide to Beet Recipes
The Ultimate Guide to Beets is everything you need to know how about beets. We walk you through the different types of beets, the benefits of eating beets, and share our favorite beet recipes!
Beets are one of those veggies that most people have to learn to love, but once you do there's no turning back. We all know that they make a great side dish, but did you know they're just as delicious at breakfast, in drinks or even in dessert?
In this ultimate guide to beet recipes you'll find information on different types of beets, how to buy and store them, why they're so healthy and tons and tons of different recipes. Make sure to check out the bottom of the post for some fun facts about beets.
Types of Beets
Red beetroot is very common. There are all sorts of different varieties of red beets, but unless you're buying them from a farmer's market or directly from the farmer, you'll likely just see them labeled as ‘beets' or ‘red beets'.
Red beets have a habit of dying everything they come into contact with. If you're roasting them with golden beets, make sure to roast them separately, so they don't turn the golden ones red.
Golden or Yellow Beets
Golden beets are starting to become more common in grocery stores. They have rusty orange skin and beautiful yellow flesh.
I find their flavor more mellow and less earthy than red beets, so they're great for someone who's uncertain about beet's distinctive flavor. They're also gorgeous on a plate beside red beets.
Striped or Chioggia Beets
Striped Beets have pretty rings of color, similar to a candy cane. I like them best sliced paper thin and served raw so you can see their strips. Once you cook them, most of their bands of color disappear.
Baby beets are simply young beets that have been pulled from the ground early. They're extra tender and a real treat. I like to roast them with both a few inches of their stems and their tails on; they're extra pretty this way.
Sugar beets are a variety of beet that is grown commercially for its high sugar content. They're white in color and much larger than a typical cooking beet.
How to Buy and Store Beets
Ideally, you want to look for beets with their leaves still attached. The freshest beets will have vibrant and healthy looking leaves and be relatively free of blemishes.
It's not always possible to buy beets with their leaves. If you ‘re buying beets without their leaves look for ones that feel very firm and have few blemishes. Also, look at the top, this is the first spot you'll generally see signs of mold.
Once you bring them home, remove the leaves right away. The bigger leaves can be cooked like spinach, and the younger, smaller ones can be eaten raw in a salad.
The stems of beets are also delicious. Don't throw them away! They taste very similar to celery and can be used in its place. I love tossing a handful into my salads for some crunch.
The beetroot itself should be stored in a bag in your fridge. Do not wash them before storing.
While beets are best eaten fresh they will last for at least 2-3 weeks in your fridge. If you notice a spot of mold (a dark black spot) on a beet simply cut it off before roasting it.
How to Peel Beets
While most people peel their beets, it is definitely not a must-do step. Just like with a potato, often a good scrub will do the trick.
Most recipes will tell you to roast the beets first and then peel them. I personally think this is crazy. Peeling beets is as easy as peeling potatoes, and if you do it before they're cooked it's a whole lot less messy.
Whether you peel before or after you cook them comes down to personal preference. Try it both ways and see which works best for you.
And don't panic if this is the first time your hands have been dyed beet red. By the time you finish cooking dinner (and have washed your hands a few times along the way), the red color will have washed off.
When is Beet Season
Beets are a cold weather crop that is typically planted about a month or so before the last frost. Depending on the climate you live in you may also be able to plant another crop at the end of summer to harvest in late fall.
If you live in a temperate climate, where it doesn't get warmer than 23 degrees (75 Fahrenheit) or colder than 10 degrees (50 Fahrenheit), then you'll be able to grow beets year-round.
Most beets take between 55-70 days to mature, depending on the variety.
Are Beets Healthy
Yes! Despite their sweet flavor beets are very low in carbs. They're also high in vitamin b, folate and are a good source of many minerals.
Arguably the best thing about beets is that they're high in nitrate which, when your body processes the nitrate in beets, gets converted to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes your blood vessels and, as a result, increases circulation.
There's tons of research showing that nitric oxide can do everything from reducing your blood pressure to giving you more energy, to help your body recover after a workout. It's also been known to work as a natural Viagra.
- Beets are being turned into fuel to power our world. In California, sugar beets are being grown and processed into ethanol. Apparently these “energy beets” produce twice as much ethanol per acre than corn.
- To test how acidic or alkaline your body is, eat beets. If you pee pink after you eat beets that generally means that you have low stomach acid. That's a good thing!
- Beets can help your sex life. Eating beets will help expand your blood vessels and increase your blood flow. As we all know, increasing blood flow can have a very positive effect on our sex lives. Beets also contain boron, which is a mineral directly related to the production of the sex hormone. Go on, eat your beets! 🙂
Also, check out this super helpful Guide to Onions