Boiling Beets

Beets are a tasty treat in any season. The classic way to prepare this vegetable is boiling. A great beet side dish starts at the market. Select beets of uniform size, so they will all cook in the same time. Beets with greens attached are best, as you know they have just come out of the ground. Beet greens make an excellent substitute for spinach as well, and can be boiled or steamed.

Rinse beets and cut off greens, leaving one inch of stems on the beet. Place beets in a pan big enough to half fill with the roots. Add water to cover beets by about an inch. Set the pot on the stove and heat with a medium flame or setting until the water boils. Once the water is boiling, turn heat down to a simmer and cook uncovered until done. You may have to add more water over the course of cooking. Depending on the size of the beets, cooking may take from one to two hours. You will know when the beets are done by stabbing them with a steak knife. If the knife goes in easily, the beets are cooked.

Once the beets are cooked comes the tricky part, peeling them. Latex gloves come in handy to prevent staining hands. Pour the cooking water off into the sink, unless you want to save it to color bread or other recipes. Run cold water into the pan to cool the beets. This will take a couple minutes. Once the beets are cool enough to handle, pick them up with gloved hands and rub the skin off them. The skin will come off easily. Then slice them however thick you want them into a waiting serving bowl.

Boiled beets contain sugar and various plant colors. Recent research has shown that they contain anti-cancer agents. Boiled beets are best served with butter and salt, or cider vinegar. The coloring agents in beets are fairly strong, and will survive a trip through the digestive tract. You will want to remember this the next morning, you are not bleeding internally, it’s just something you ate. The beet greens, boiled or steamed, make a nice side dish, served with a pat of butter. There’s not much more to beets, enjoy.

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