At the farmer's market today, I was moved to buy beets. They looked too pretty and fresh to ignore.
I have only eaten sliced beets from the can, usually cold, usually in a three bean salad with red wine vinegar. When I went to college, I ate canned beets on my cottage cheese and lettuce during my I'm-a-vegetarian phase. Nowadays, I rarely have a can of beets in my cabinet.
Now I'm older (much), and I realize I've been missing something by not buying fresh beets. When I saw the price tag, just $1.79, I said "Why not?" I'm glad I tried them. They are tender, delicious, and nothing like what you get in a can.
I must come clean and admit that not everyone in my family will try these. My daughter had a bite of the beet and she liked it. That's about all I'm going to get out of the whole family. Nonetheless, I will continue to expose them to all kinds of foods so that one day they may like more foods.
I read a book in April, "Anticancer, the New Way of Life" by David Servan-Schreiber which described the many health benefits of beets. Among them, beets protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers.
Although the oven made my kitchen so hot (today of all days, I decide to make these), it was well worth it. It really is a simple process to cook fresh beets. Just peel after they are cooked! You mustn't let the beet greens go to waste either. I liked them just as well as the beets themselves. Two side dishes in one!
Cut off the greens from one bunch of beets. Wash well. Put the beets in a dish coated with cooking spray. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil. Cover with foil, and bake in a 350 oven for about 1 hour, 10 minutes or until they are cooked to your liking. You'll know they are done when a knife can be inserted easily. I like the beets to be fairly tender. After they come out of the oven, let them cool. Peel. Slice thinly. Serve simply with butter, salt and pepper, or drizzle some red wine vinegar.
Sauteed Beet Greens
Wash greens very well. Cut into three to four inch pieces. In a large saute pan, warm a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Add a clove or two of garlic, depending on your taste. Saute the greens on medium heat until they are wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle a little sugar (about 1 teaspoon) and sprinkle in some red wine vinegar (about 1 tablespoon).