Oops, I have too much is a blog series dedicated to the inevitable abundance of seasonal produce. Whether you grew it in your garden, got it in your CSA box or just couldn’t resist buying beautiful seasonal produce at the grocery store or farmer’s market, I’ll give you ideas for delicious ways to use your excess food, and tips to preserve it for later so it won’t go to waste.
What to do with lots of beets
It’s CSA season, and early harvest always includes beets. The first year we belonged to a CSA I had trouble knowing what to do with these veggies that dyed my fingers purple, but I’ve since started to anticipate them with eagerness, because there are so many great uses for them…and they’re absolutely delicious. And that color! It’s eye candy.
Look for beets that are firm with smooth skin. If the beets are being sold with their skin, you can tell the freshness by the leaves—stay away from the ones whose leaves are brown and wilting.
Store beets in the fridge with their greens cut off, leaving about two inches of stem attached—and don’t forget, the beet greens are edible too. Wash and cook the greens within about a day of bringing them home.
The best way to preserve beets long term is to first roast then freeze them (see instructions below for cooking them). They can also be canned, if you so desire.
A note about the lovely color
Beets are such a beautiful shade of purpley red, aren’t they? That gorgeous color can dye your fingers, utensils and countertops, so use care when handling them. If dyed skin bothers you, try one of these methods to get rid of it. Beware the dye on wood and marble counters, particularly.
Quick & easy
- Peel then grate raw beets and throw them in your salads. (A food processor works great for this, to keep your fingers from getting dyed..hat tip to the lovely Meg Worden for that nugget of wisdom.)
- Alternately, you can cut up cooked beets and throw those in your salads. Beets pair delightfully with goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I typically use spinach or arugula. And don’t forget the walnuts! This post has a great beet and goat cheese salad recipe that uses poppyseed dressing.
- My favorite way to cook beets is to roast them. Cut off the stem and root ends, and wrap in aluminum foil. Roast in the oven or toaster oven at 375°F until they can be speared easily with a fork. Roasting time will vary depending on size; start checking small ones after about 25 minutes. Larger ones can take an hour or so. After unwrapping them, their skin will peel off easily.
- Beets can also be boiled (stem and root left on) to cook, which takes 20-45 minutes depending on size. They’re done when they can be speared easily with a fork. Again, slip off the skin after they are cooked.
- Combine and roast with your favorite root vegetables. Peel and chop raw beets, and mix with other chopped root vegetables like sweet potatoes, onions, parsnips, carrots, celery root or turnips. (Any combination of those will do just fine.) Toss with a bit of olive oil and roast at 375°F for about an hour, turning once. Makes a filling, wholesome and grounding dinner or side dish. (This is a great thing to eat when you are freaking out.)
- Leftovers of the above roasted root vegetables make a mean pot pie.
- I’ve never made them, but these beet chips look extraordinarily simple and delicious. I might try them with the skin on, since it would cut down on the time (and some of the mess), and those skins are nutritious.
Recipe ideas to use beets
I’ve had this beet & bleu cheese risotto several times, and it’s SO good. In fact, it’s on my meal plan this week! I make it with whatever color of beets I happen to have…when you use the regular ones, the risotto turns a lovely shade of fuchsia. It feels very fancy.
- Try sautéing the beet greens with garlic and olive oil like this.
- Fresh beet pasta? Yes, please.
- Get Meg Worden’s ebook Salad Alchemy and try her Stability Salad recipe which is absolutely divine (the ebook is less than $5—a huge bargain for such delicious recipes and poetic prose)
- Red velvet pancakes, what?!? That’s ridiculous. (In a good way.)
- This beet berry smoothie looks extremely yummy.
- I think I need to add this quinoa salad to my repertoire: featuring beets, chick peas, baby spinach and orange. Nom.
- For dessert, how about this beet ice cream with mascarpone, orange zest and poppy seeds?
Do you have a favorite recipe that features beets? Tell us in the comments below!