Beets are one of my favorite vegetables. I took much delight in picking the first of the beets from our home garden to roast for a beet salad for lunch.
To roast beets
Scrub beets and remove tops. Leave about a half of an inch of the stem on the beets so that the juices will not run while they are in the oven. Reserve tops, as they are edible. Young beet greens can be used as a salad green. Older beet greens can be sautéed in olive oil with a little salt and pepper.
Wrap the beets in aluminum foil as you would do with baked potatoes. Put them in a pan so that if the juices start to run you will not have a lot of clean up to do. Put on the bottom rack of the oven and cook at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the beet. You will know that they are ready when you use an oven mitt to squeeze them and they give slightly.
Take them out of the oven and let them sit for at least 5 minutes. This will help to loosen the skin a bit. Vent them and let them sit another 5 minutes so that you will not burn your fingers when removing the peel.
Cut the tough top of the beet and rub a paper towel on the skin to help you remove it. You can use a lintless towel, but be prepared for it to stain. This is one of the rare cases when I recommend you use a disposable.
If you have different types of beets, you can put them in separate bowls to help them hold their color. (I usually don’t worry about this too much). I like to put a little red wine vinegar on top of the beets and let them sit for at least another 5 minutes. You can eat them with a little salt just as they are. They are also great in beet salad.
Next week, we might have enough beets to do a small batch of pickled beets. If so, I’ll try to write a post on that so you can see the process. I might also have enough cabbage next week to make a borst—one of my favorite soups, which is made with beets. (Can you tell that my family is from the Ukraine and Poland??)