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Kids Cook Monday: Roasted Beets
Beets are amazingly sweet, yet low in calories and provide significant amounts of folate, vitamin C, and potassium.
Roasting beets is an easy task to do in the kitchen with children and it provides them with the knowledge of how to prepare fresh vegetables.
The best time to buy beets is when they are fresh and in season at your local farmers market or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm in early summer, but they are available year round at most supermarkets. Beets with their green tops still attached are guaranteed to be the freshest.
Be sure to select a bunch of beets with vibrant green leaves and not ones that appear weathered or wilted. The root of the beet should be smooth and firm. I like to use both red beets and golden beets to give the dish a nice variety in color.
Photos: How to Roast BeetsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Directions for Roasting Beets
- Using kitchen scissors, cut the stems of the beets.
Tip: Don't cut too close to the beet or the color will bleed.
- Wash beets thoroughly under cool running water.
- Place beets on a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil.
- Drizzle beets with a bit of olive oil & sprinkle some additional water on top, so they don't dry out while roasting.
- Wrap the aluminum foil around the beets and place in an oven preheated to 450°.
- Remove from the oven after about an hour or when you can easily stick a fork through each beet.
Tip: Larger beets may take longer and smaller beets may require less time, it is good to start checking them after about 45 minutes.
Beets are very, very hot once removed from the oven. Allow beets to fully cool before you or your child handle them for peeling. Once beets are cool, the skin will peel off very easily, so roll up your sleeves, grab a beet, and slowly pinch the skin off of the root vegetable.
Peeling beets is a messy, but fun chore. If you don't want to get your hands dirty, you can also use paper towels or a small paring knife
Beets can be used as a side dish, or sliced on top of a bed of salad greens (add some goat cheese & walnuts, yum!), they also make a great dish to bring to a holiday gathering or to share at a potluck.
Photos: Cooking Beet GreensClick thumbnail to view full-size
How to Cook Beet Greens
You can use the tops of beets the same way you would spinach, kale, or swiss chard. Like many leafy greens, they are high in vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
- Break greens away from the stem (stems make great compost!)
- Wash thoroughly
- Heat a little olive oil & add some minced garlic to wok or large pan on stove top over medium heat.
- Add beet greens
- Saute over medium heat until cooked down, but still vibrant in color
- Serve as a side dish or use in your favorite recipes as a substitute for leafy greens
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