View Full Version : Beets and Turnips - Now What? Help!

09-20-2008, 01:18 AM
I have beets. I planted them this year, because I like beets, but now that they're ready for harvest it suddenly occurred to me that I've never actually prepared fresh beets myself - I've always taken them out of a can. Oh, dear.

The beet greens I can deal with - they will be blanched and frozen like the other greens from the garden.

But the roots... gosh, I feel so silly, but is there anything I should know? I'm not even sure how long I should cook them. Or how long they'll be good after I pull them out of the ground.

I also have turnips. Again, the greens are no problem, I probably have a couple pounds in the freezer already. But I'm running out of ideas for turnips, which seem to come down to

1) In a soup/stew
2) boiled and mashed with potatoes (neaps and tatties)
3) when sliced, my husband will eat them as a raw vegetable

It seems that a couple of them from earlier in the year managed to hide and are now the size of a Volkswagen bug. What should I do? Are they edible, or should I use one as a Halloween decoration in lieu of a pumpkin? (The Hiding Radishes are clearly no longer edible - when I was told an old radish became "wood like" I did not realize it would truly be "the texture and density of oak")

09-20-2008, 01:47 AM
Mmm, roasted beets:

beets, peeled and quartered
olive oil
minced fresh garlic
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F. Place the beets in a small roasting or baking dish in one layer. Drizzle with the oil. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Roast until fork-tender, about 30 minutes.

Roasting makes most root vegetables sweet and yummy.

I got a little carried away with turnips one year, and ended up with numerous 50 lb. sacks that I couldn't pawn of on anyone. I stopped at the local tavern on the way back from the farmers market to drop off some potatoes for their JoJo's. I talked him into trying to jojo a couple turnips and they were excellent and a big hit. You can either deep fry them with some breading or give them the same treatment as the beets.

09-20-2008, 01:57 AM
One word for all of the above: butter. Or margarine, if needed. The salty grease only accentuates the goodness.

09-20-2008, 02:04 AM
I always boiled beets with vinegar.

09-20-2008, 02:09 AM
OK, really dumb question (but I am posting this at 2 am) - you have to peel beets? Is it a distinct peel, or more like peeling a turnip or carrot where you just scrape off a thin outer layer?

Might try roasting the turnips...

And yes, BUTTER. Butter makes things better.

09-20-2008, 02:11 AM
If you boil them the skin rubs off pretty easily.

09-20-2008, 02:14 AM
The bigger the beet, the tougher the skin.

I just use a potato peeler.

09-20-2008, 02:58 AM
So, you're saying peeling a beet is like peeling a potato? OK, no problem.

Do we really have that many cooks with insomnia? Or is it daylight where you all are?

09-20-2008, 03:17 AM
In Australia- around 6 pm Saturday.

09-20-2008, 04:08 AM
If you are baking or boiling them, the skins rub off pretty easy after cooking. I wouldn't peel them due to the mess factor. Just wash them and bake.

What do you do with the greens? I've a crop which needs thinning and no idea how to use them.

09-20-2008, 04:12 AM
I use them like I would spinach or bok choy in stir fries or soups. Mostly stir fry. My usual is to stir fry chicken, greens, mushrooms, and water chestnuts in a little oil and soy sauce with a dash of ginger. A lot of times I'll use a mix of whatever greens I have on hand, which is currently bok choy, spinach, turnip, radish, beet, and dandelion. Sort of a chicken salad where the green stuff gets cooked along with the chicken.

Eva Luna
09-20-2008, 05:03 AM
Do we really have that many cooks with insomnia?

Yes. :)

As for the beets, I always wrap them in aluminum foil and bake them in the oven before doing whatever else I'm going to do with them. A largish beet, about the size of a tennis ball, will take over an hour at 400 degrees.

My newest favorite thing to do with beets is from a Georgian (the country, not the U.S. state) cookbook; grate, then mix with minced garlic, ground walnuts, and chopped cilantro. (A food processor is quite helpful for this, though not a necessity.)

teela brown
09-20-2008, 02:24 PM
Yes. :)

As for the beets, I always wrap them in aluminum foil and bake them in the oven before doing whatever else I'm going to do with them. A largish beet, about the size of a tennis ball, will take over an hour at 400 degrees.

Yep, Eva's got it right. Wait for it to cool enough so you can handle it, and rub off the skin. Then slice it up and drizzle it with a little olive oil and vinegar, and garnish it with bits of salty tangy cheese like feta or bleu.

Roasted beets which haven't been peeled yet keep well in the fridge for a few days, which makes it easy to pop one out, peel it and prepare it.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.