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Old 02-04-2020, 03:38 PM
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Dumb question to the cooks: Beets!


I don't like beets. Never have. To me, they taste like dirt.

As mentioned in previous threads, Mr VOW is recuperating from a heart attack. He's doing well. Part of the reason for that, he's eating healthy stuff. A lot of fresh fruits and veggies, and everything is with NO SALT.

I'm a halfway decent cook, and fortunately I have the time to dedicate to preparing lots of fresh stuff. Because, let's face it! Fresh stuff is WORK!

Today he requested beets.

Again, I don't like them, so it's not something I have prepared very often over the years (and years). Mostly, I have opened a can and heated them up, and handed them to him.

Canned stuff has salt...

The Daughter will buy beets on her next grocery excursion.

Years ago, I got scolded soundly from my mother for twisting off the top of a bunch of beets too closely to the root. To hear her complain, you'd think the beets bled out completely in the cooking water and she had white golf balls left to eat. In the horror of serving golf balls to Mr VOW instead of his requested beets, I did a little research online.

Horrors! Almost all directions for cooking beets begin, "Cut off tops and root bottoms next to the beet." Some directions say to cut the beet into dices or wedges before cooking! My mother is screaming from the Hereafter!

One set of directions say to leave on one inch of tops to prevent bleeding. Momma wanted almost the whole damned top left on!

Are people really eating white beets?

Do deep red cooked beets taste better than one that have bled out all their "beetiness" in the cooking water?

Or are beets going to bleed into cooking water no matter what you do?

Seriously, I'll probably end up roasting the damned things.

Advice, suggestions, derogatory remarks?


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Old 02-04-2020, 03:54 PM
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Beets me!
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Old 02-04-2020, 04:00 PM
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Try to get some of the marbled ones. Ummm, can't remember the name...Googles....Chioggia. They're less "beet-y" and kind of sweet. I like to grill them, but roasting with some olive oil, salt&pepper would probably be good.

I've never heard of red beets getting anywhere close to white while boiling.
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Old 02-04-2020, 04:31 PM
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If the red bleed is an issue, there are now golden beets, which are delicious and don't make a red mess.

And yes, roasting them, whether they are red or golden, is the best way of cooking them, IMO. They develop a nice deep roasty flavor. Then you can peel and slice them and drizzle olive oil (the heart patient's best friend) all over them, along with a little lemon juice or vinegar and some chopped basil.

Yum, roasted beets.
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Old 02-04-2020, 04:44 PM
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Mr VOW is a "purist." A better word would be "hardhead." He doesn't want anything on his veggies but butter. LOTS of butter. Of course, that ain't happening these days.

If I tried to serve him golden beets or candy cane beets, he'd get a look on his face like he had something nasty-tasting in his mouth, and he'd say, "Why do you want to mess with them?"

I, personally, would like to try golden beets or candy cane beets, to see if maybe they DON'T taste like dirt!

I'll probably roast them.


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Old 02-04-2020, 04:50 PM
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You mean they're edible? I can't even stand the smell of them cooking.
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Old 02-04-2020, 04:56 PM
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You're doing nothing wrong. They don't "bleed out". Roast the damn things whole in the skins, or cut up with other root vegetables like carrots and parsnips, etc. I like them with a dollop of sour cream or thick yogurt, and generous sprinkle of coarse salt and olive oil as a side. In arugula salads with gorgonzola and good aged balsamic vinegar.

But yeah, if you find they taste like dirt, you'll just have to get over it and adapt or stop eating them.
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Old 02-04-2020, 04:59 PM
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Are you telling me that you threw away the beet tops? They're excellent as cooked greens, or in salads, and they don't turn your poop red the way beetroots do.

How about pickled beets?
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Old 02-04-2020, 05:07 PM
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Can Mr. VOW have a little sugar? I assume he can, or he couldn't have beets. Pickle them. You can do it with vinegar, dill or mustard seed, pepper if you want, and sugar (or use a sweet vinegar, like cider or rice).

Make slaw with carrots, onions and broccoli stems.

If you have them, use a composite cutting board and a stainless steel knife - much easier to clean than wood, bamboo, carbon steel or ceramic. Also, if you cook them before you clean or cut them, cooked beet juice is easier to deal with than the raw stuff, but there's more of it.

Beets can be used almost anywhere you would put a turnip or rutabaga or any other root vegetable. I've put them in samosas, Cornish pasties (come to think of it, those are pretty much the same thing), made chips, and so on. Just remember beets add a little extra sugar and adjust seasonings accordingly.

And you can use beets instead of artificial food coloring to make Red Velvet Cake, but I suppose that's off the menu anyway.
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Old 02-04-2020, 05:22 PM
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How about pickled beets?
No, because they would be high in salt.

I cover beets with foil and roast them. I can then slip the skin off easily, slice and prepare them how I wish (usually with a bit of basalmic vinegar and honey). But yes, the smell of them roasting with the skin on is very dirt-y. Far more so than other root veggies. Therefore, I usually roast enough for three meals, remove the skins and then store the excess roasted beets for a couple of days.
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Old 02-04-2020, 05:38 PM
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No, because they would be high in salt.

...


Nope, pickled beets are usually done with cider vinegar, sugar, and cinnamon or similar spices. No salt needed. I make them all the time. They're fabulous on sandwiches.
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Old 02-04-2020, 05:45 PM
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Pickled, with or without salt will NOT work. The "purist," remember?

On the other hand, *I* would probably love them pickled!


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Old 02-04-2020, 05:46 PM
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Why would pickled beets be necessarily high in salt? Regular pickles, yeah, those are high in salt, but beets tend to be presented on the sweet side of the flavor spectrum.

Looking at the commercially made pickled beets, they range from 2% to 10% of sodium dv, whereas it looks like dill pickles can go up to 50% of the sodium dv
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Old 02-04-2020, 05:47 PM
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Ah - pickled not acceptable anyway!
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Old 02-04-2020, 05:51 PM
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You mean they're edible? I can't even stand the smell of them cooking.




Gah! You dredged up an ancient memory! When I was a kid, we spent the summer in Missouri with my mother's folks. My grandfather had an ENORMOUS garden and grew everything. When the beets were ripe, he hauled in armloads. I didn't pay any attention to what my mother and grandmother did for prep work, but that night, I tried to sleep in the miserable, humid Missouri heat (that was before air conditioning was invented) while huge vats of beets boiled on the stove, seemingly overnight.

*retch*


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Old 02-04-2020, 05:52 PM
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I can't speak to roasted beets because I've never made them. (I have eaten them, though. Yum.) When I was married, we had a huge garden, and I had to put up loads of beets. (Yes, they keep, but not long enough to get to the next harvest.) And when they were fresh, it was too hot out to have the oven on. SO

You won't lose any color by cutting close to the beet at either end. They're basically cooking in color. Beets were a deep, rich red regardless of which way I cut them. Sorry, but your mama was mistaken on this one.

Also, have you tried Morton's Salt Substitute? My sister is on a very low-sodium diet and told me about it. To my surprise, it really does taste just like salt! I think you can pickle beets with it, but I'm not sure. I know you can't use it in fermented pickle recipes.
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Old 02-04-2020, 05:57 PM
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Nope, pickled beets are usually done with cider vinegar, sugar, and cinnamon or similar spices. No salt needed. I make them all the time. They're fabulous on sandwiches.
Ignorance fought, thank you dwyr. My grandmother pickled them the same way she pickled cukes. It might be why I've never liked them....
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Old 02-04-2020, 06:06 PM
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Would he like borscht? With that, the beets bleeding into the cooking liquid is a feature, not a bug. I made some with pink beets once, which lead to a rather shocking fluorescent soup!

Also, if you have a Trader Joe's within a decent distance they have some good no-salt seasoning mixes.
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Old 02-04-2020, 06:07 PM
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Old 02-04-2020, 06:27 PM
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Seriously, I'll probably end up roasting the damned things.
If he's that much a purist, I would say this is the correct thing to do. See QuickSilver's post.

I love beets in all their various forms. One of my favorite preparations shredded, seasoned with rosemary, and fried with butter as a rösti (kind of a Scandinavian hashbrown.) But that wouldn't be "purist."
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Old 02-04-2020, 06:42 PM
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The problem with beets bleeding color isn't that they turn white, it's that everything near them turns red.
Quote:
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...And yes, roasting them, whether they are red or golden, is the best way of cooking them, IMO. They develop a nice deep roasty flavor. Then you can peel and slice them and drizzle olive oil (the heart patient's best friend) all over them, along with a little lemon juice or vinegar and some chopped basil.

Yum, roasted beets.
Yup. I cut off the tops, and the bottoms, and put them on one of those disposable foil pans that pie crusts come on. And I throw it in the oven until they are done, which takes a long time. (I just throw them in with whatever else is cooking, they aren't really picky about the temperature.

When they are done, I peel off the skins with my fingers, cut them into chunks, and serve. With or without a little butter or olive oil, and a drizzle of lemon juice. I think they are delicious.

Then I throw the disposable pan in the dishwasher. If it looks okay when it comes out, I put it back on the shelf. Otherwise, I toss it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nearwildheaven View Post
Are you telling me that you threw away the beet tops? They're excellent as cooked greens, or in salads, and they don't turn your poop red the way beetroots do.

How about pickled beets?
Beets are closely related to chard, and the stems and greens are nice if you cook them. Like chard.
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Old 02-04-2020, 07:07 PM
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Can't generally stand beets myself, but when the wife makes them as part of a roasted roots medley they aren't bad. As others have mentioned, save the tops for boiled greens (served with hot pepper vinegar). Roast with olive oil and your choice of spices - we find that Penzeys has a wide selection of blends that are all salt-free but still tasty.

Maybe making them part of the veggies rather than all of the veggies will help both of you deal with the request with a minimum of friction.
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Old 02-04-2020, 08:32 PM
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Beets are closely related to chard, and the stems and greens are nice if you cook them. Like chard.
Indeed. Beet(root) and chard are just different cultivars of Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris. Beet(root) was cultivated for its root, of course; chard for its leaves.
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Old 02-04-2020, 09:03 PM
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Beets would only taste like dirt if you didn’t PEEL THEM.

Scrub your beets, wrap them in foil, and put them in a 400 degree oven for an hour or so, depending on the size (small beets are better). Chiogga and gold beets are great, but there’s nothing wrong with red beets.

Cool and scrape off the skin. Slice and serve as a salad with minced onion and vinaigrette. Or pickle them, which is the best way to eat them in the summer. As said before, not too salty. I use Arthur Schwartz’s recipe from Jewish Home Cooking.. Will type out on request.
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Old 02-04-2020, 09:17 PM
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The beets in the can, which have been peeled, sliced, diced, cut into wedges, left whole and all processed...taste like dirt.

And liver tastes like a rusty nail.

Cilantro should be banned, because it tastes like perfume. Cheap, nasty-smelling perfume.

According to my taste buds.


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Old 02-04-2020, 10:57 PM
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Try to get some of the marbled ones. Ummm, can't remember the name...Googles....Chioggia. They're less "beet-y" and kind of sweet. I like to grill them, but roasting with some olive oil, salt&pepper would probably be good.

I've never heard of red beets getting anywhere close to white while boiling.
Got to find some and try them, I like regular beets but am always open to new veggies to try.
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Mr VOW is a "purist." A better word would be "hardhead." He doesn't want anything on his veggies but butter. LOTS of butter. Of course, that ain't happening these days.

If I tried to serve him golden beets or candy cane beets, he'd get a look on his face like he had something nasty-tasting in his mouth, and he'd say, "Why do you want to mess with them?"

I, personally, would like to try golden beets or candy cane beets, to see if maybe they DON'T taste like dirt!

I'll probably roast them.


~VOW
Unsalted butter ... =) I like butter and apple cider vinegar on lots of different veggies. Especially if they are roasted instead of boiled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
You're doing nothing wrong. They don't "bleed out". Roast the damn things whole in the skins, or cut up with other root vegetables like carrots and parsnips, etc. I like them with a dollop of sour cream or thick yogurt, and generous sprinkle of coarse salt and olive oil as a side. In arugula salads with gorgonzola and good aged balsamic vinegar.

But yeah, if you find they taste like dirt, you'll just have to get over it and adapt or stop eating them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nearwildheaven View Post
Are you telling me that you threw away the beet tops? They're excellent as cooked greens, or in salads, and they don't turn your poop red the way beetroots do.

How about pickled beets?
Quote:
Originally Posted by The King of Soup View Post
Can Mr. VOW have a little sugar? I assume he can, or he couldn't have beets. Pickle them. You can do it with vinegar, dill or mustard seed, pepper if you want, and sugar (or use a sweet vinegar, like cider or rice).

Make slaw with carrots, onions and broccoli stems.

If you have them, use a composite cutting board and a stainless steel knife - much easier to clean than wood, bamboo, carbon steel or ceramic. Also, if you cook them before you clean or cut them, cooked beet juice is easier to deal with than the raw stuff, but there's more of it.

Beets can be used almost anywhere you would put a turnip or rutabaga or any other root vegetable. I've put them in samosas, Cornish pasties (come to think of it, those are pretty much the same thing), made chips, and so on. Just remember beets add a little extra sugar and adjust seasonings accordingly.

And you can use beets instead of artificial food coloring to make Red Velvet Cake, but I suppose that's off the menu anyway.
yum
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Originally Posted by dwyr View Post
Nope, pickled beets are usually done with cider vinegar, sugar, and cinnamon or similar spices. No salt needed. I make them all the time. They're fabulous on sandwiches.
yum
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Old 02-05-2020, 01:24 AM
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Also, have you tried Morton's Salt Substitute? My sister is on a very low-sodium diet and told me about it. To my surprise, it really does taste just like salt! I think you can pickle beets with it, but I'm not sure. I know you can't use it in fermented pickle recipes.
Be careful using salt substitutes; this one uses potassium, and others may use some magnesium or other salty-tasting minerals. Excess potassium is WAAAAAAY more dangerous than excess salt.

There's also Mrs. Dash and other salt-free or low-salt spice blends.
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Old 02-05-2020, 02:46 AM
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Boil em. Put a little Malt Vinegar on em.

Be prepared for the 'Oh My God! I'm shitting/and or Peeling Blood!!!' emergency shout from the shit-box the next day.

It will be a false alarm.

Very easy to grow, by the way.
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Old 02-05-2020, 03:29 AM
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We have beets periodically to change things up. I just happened to make this recipe last night, it was great:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/...cheese-3510903

The greens were already cut off mine so that didn't apply. I peeled them with a potato peeler over my empty stainless steel sink, cut them on the cutting board right next to the sink. Scooped the peels directly into a bag for disposal and rinsed the sink. My hands washed up fine afterward. 5 minutes prep. and into the microwave.
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Old 02-05-2020, 06:54 AM
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Seriously, I'll probably end up roasting the damned things.
Why on Earth would you cook them any other way?
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:32 AM
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Whole trimmed and peeled beets now come vacuum packed in plastic in the Produce department. So you needn't buy canned ones. SFAIK, the ones in plastic aren't salted, though you might want to check the label.

When I make borscht, it's rustic (with relatively large chunks of vegetables). When my ex (from Siberia) makes it, she grates the veg very fine so that they partly dissolve. Either way, it's good.

There are a lot of different recipes for borscht, from all over Eastern Europe.
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:37 AM
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If you make roasted beets with other root veg, try tossing chunks of them in a little olive oil, some Dijon mustard, and a bit of honey or maple syrup before you put them in the oven.

I usually steam them first to soften them up a bit. Delicious!
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:13 AM
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Fresh beets gently boiled till tender, the skin slides right off. Sliced, splashed with a bit of vinaigrette, a dash of pepper, yum. I have quite stash of flavored vinaigrettes and beets tastes excellent with this too. My favorite is a Gravenstein apple vinaigrette, the earthy flavor of the beets and the tang of the apple. Much better than pickled beets.
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Old 02-05-2020, 09:18 PM
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Why on Earth would you cook them any other way?
The recipe I made was mixed with a vinaigrette and microwaved. They were amazing. When I think of cooking them, they fall into the same mental category as whole potatoes. Baked (oven or BBQ), broil, boiled (soups), microwaved etc.

Why on earth would you limit yourself to only one way of cooking them?
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:39 PM
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Roast beets are the bomb, served with sour cream...

Also I grate them raw into coleslaw, raw cabbage, raw beetroot, raw carrot and then some Greek yogurt and lemon juice. Just finished a bowl left over from last night.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:15 AM
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The beets in the can, which have been peeled, sliced, diced, cut into wedges, left whole and all processed...taste like dirt.
You aren't alone. I call it "earthy"... But it tastes like the smell you get if you are digging a hole.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:52 AM
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You aren't alone. I call it "earthy"... But it tastes like the smell you get if you are digging a hole.
Yes. I like beets a lot, but I totally get the "dirt" comparison, and it has nothing to do with whether they are peeled or not. The beets themselves have that earthy flavor.

I would try golden beets. They have less of that earthiness and are a bit sweeter, but I don't eat them so much because a) they're not usually available at my local supermarket and b) I grew up on red beets and enjoy the earthiness.
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Old 02-06-2020, 04:34 PM
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I try to buy quite small beetroots (between golf and tennis ball size) top and tail them, quarter them and douse in olive oil and roast them for a long time - 45 mins to an hour. They get a really nice concentrated, caramelised flavour.
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Old 02-06-2020, 06:48 PM
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. . . Years ago, I got scolded soundly from my mother for twisting off the top of a bunch of beets too closely to the root. To hear her complain, you'd think the beets bled out completely in the cooking water and she had white golf balls left to eat. In the horror of serving golf balls to Mr VOW instead of his requested beets, I did a little research online.

Horrors! Almost all directions for cooking beets begin, "Cut off tops and root bottoms next to the beet." Some directions say to cut the beet into dices or wedges before cooking! My mother is screaming from the Hereafter! . . .
Ah. My mother was convinced that drinking soda would make your sweat sticky. That, and a few other ideas, were unshakable. We love our mothers anyway and think of them whenever we do something that they would have yelled about.

As many have mentioned, beets can bleed red almost indefinitely and still be red. When beets are used to dye cloth (it's not really a permanent dye), chunks are boiled for two hours and they still look mostly red.

I'd say that in our family we boiled beets, the idea of roasting them was not in our family line, but mostly we bought them in cans. Fresh ones cost more and take longer to cook. The canned ones heat up quickly. Not that I'm recommending canned beets, just noting that they take longer than many expect to cook.
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