Beets are a winter vegetable, and are unique in that both the green and
the root - the beet itself - can be consumed. They originated in the
Mediterranean region, but were grown for medicinal purposes. It wasn't
until the 1800's that French chefs discovered their culinary potential. They
are a great source of folate, which is essential for a healthy cardiovascular
system, as well as fetal development. Beets are also very low in fat and
calories, are a good source of fiber, and are known to help protect against
colon cancer, birth defects and heart disease.
Roasted Beets with Sauteed Beet Greens
1 bunch of beets with greens attached
1/4 cup of olive oil, divided
2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons of chopped onion
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Wash the beets thoroughly, leaving the skins on, and remove the greens. Rinse greens, removing any large stems, and set aside. Place the beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If you wish to peel the beets, it is easier to do so once they have been roasted.
Cover, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through the largest beet.
When the roasted beets are almost done, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for a minute. Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add them to the skillet. Cook and stir until greens are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the greens as is, and the roasted beets sliced with either red-wine vinegar, or butter and salt and pepper.
Old-Time Pickled Beets
10 lbs. fresh beets, greens removed
2 cups white sugar
1 Tablespoon pickling salt
1 quart of white vinegar
1/4 cup whole cloves
Place beets in a large stockpot with water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes depending on the size of the beets. If beets are large, cut them into quarters. Drain, reserving 2 cups of the beet water, cool and peel.
Sterilize jars and lids by immersing in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Fill each jar with beets and add several whole cloves to each jar.
In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, beet water, vinegar, and pickling salt. Bring to a rapid boil. Pour the hot brine over the beets in the jars, and seal lids.
Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 minutes.
Pork and Beets Stew
2½ pounds pork, leg or shoulder, cut in square pieces
4 onions, peeled, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
8 beets, peeled, sliced
Salt, pepper and seasongings to taste
Fry the meat and the onions in the butter. Empty the contents of frying pan into a kettle. Sprinkle with flour, then add the beets and salt, pepper and seasonings to taste.
Cover with water. Cover pot and let cook for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Great on a cold winter's day!
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