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Beets are well known for their sweet, earthy flavor and vibrant colors.
If you love the root vegetable but haven’t cooked much of it yourself, you might be wondering what are the best ways to cut and prepare beets at home.
Cooking with beets doesn’t have to be intimidating. In fact, you can prepare and use them just like you would other root vegetables, like carrots and potatoes.
Additionally, beets — both roots and leaves attached — are very nutritious and an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
They’re a good source of nutrients like fiber and folate, and they contain beneficial plant compounds that support digestive health and may help reduce inflammation (
Read these tips for the best ways to cut and use beets. You can incorporate more beets into your diet, expand your repertoire, and feel more comfortable preparing them at home.
To cut whole, raw beets, follow these steps:
- Wash the beet root thoroughly to remove any dirt. A rough sponge or vegetable scrubber helps to remove dirt trapped in the crevices of the skin.
- To remove the taproot and stems, cut a small piece about 1/2 inch thick from each end of the beet. This also creates a flat surface at each end of the beet root.
- Use one of the flat surfaces to stabilize the beet on your cutting board while you cut the rest of the root into the desired shape and size.
From this point on, the best way to finish cutting your beet depends on what you plan to use it for.
Uses for Beets
Here are some suggestions for the most common uses of beets:
- Roasts and soups: Dicing works well for each of these types of recipes. First cut your whole beetroot into slices of the desired thickness. Then cut each slice vertically and then diagonally to create cubes.
- Salads: Diced and sliced beets are perfect for salads. Or, for a smaller cut, you can try shredding them with a grater or food processor.
- Beets chips: Slice the whole beet as thinly as possible. Try to be consistent with the thickness of your slices so your beets cook evenly.
- Marinated beets: Pickled beets can be diced, sliced, or even cut into thin matchsticks. You can decide how to cut them based on your preferences and how you plan to use them. Be aware that pickled beets usually contain added sugar.
- Beet juice and smoothies: How you cut them beforehand depends on your blender or juicer. It is best to read the instruction manual. You may need to cut your beets more finely to make beet juice or smoothies with a smaller device.
Are there other options than cutting raw beets?
If you’re not comfortable cutting raw beets, or don’t have the space and tools to do so safely, the good news is that there are other options out there. so delicious and nutritious.
Since they become soft and mushy during the cooking process, you may prefer to cut the beets after they have already been cooked.
Beets are also available in a number of forms other than fresh.
For example, grocery stores often stock pre-sliced or diced beets in the canned and frozen sections.
Some stores even offer precooked beets that are vacuum sealed to retain their freshness. They are usually located in the refrigerated section. Although they’re usually still whole, you’ll find these cooked beets easier to cut than raw ones.
Having a sharp knife and a sturdy cutting board is essential for cutting beets safely. After washing the root thoroughly, you can slice, dice, shred, or julienne the beets depending on how you plan to use them.
Whether you peel the beets before cutting them is a matter of personal preference.
You might prefer the texture and look of peeled beets or worry about dirt trapped in the root skin.
If you decide to peel your fresh beets, you can do so before or after cooking them.
For peeling beets before cooking, a sharp vegetable peeler works best to remove the skin without sacrificing too much of the inside. If you have cooked beets before, you can simply rub the beets between your fingers. The skin tends to peel off easily on its own.
On the other hand, one of the reasons you might decide to leave the beet skin intact has to do with its nutritional value.
Many compounds that contribute to the beneficial properties of the vegetable are concentrated in the skin. This is a group of pigments called betalains.
Therefore, when you remove the skin from beets, you may be eliminating some of the most potent nutrients from your meal (
Peeling the beets is optional. You can peel the beets for their appearance and to remove dirt and blemishes from the outside. However, be aware that the skin is a powerful source of healthy nutrients, so you’ll be removing some by peeling it.
The powerful pigments responsible for some of the health benefits of beets are also capable of staining hands, clothing, cutting boards, table tops, and more.
The best way to keep beets from staining your clothes is to wear an apron while you cut them. Putting on a pair of reusable, food-safe gloves will keep the pigments off your hands.
If you prefer to cut produce with your bare hands, wash your hands immediately after cutting the beets before the pigments have time to settle. You can also try washing them with a little lemon juice or baking soda.
If you get beet juice on your clothes, immediately blot up as much of the liquid as possible with a towel, then quickly run the garment under cold water. If the stain persists, an oxygen-based stain remover usually does the trick to remove the beet juice.
To prevent beets from staining your countertops, always use a cutting board. If your cutting board has absorbed some of the color from the beets, wash it immediately after you finish cutting the beets and try rubbing a little salt on the stains to help remove them.
Beets contain strong color pigments that can stain hands, clothing, etc. If you get beet juice on yourself or something else in your kitchen, wash it off as soon as possible to prevent stains from setting in.
There are many delicious ways to incorporate beets into your diet. They are usually eaten cooked, but some people also eat them raw, such as grated in a salad or juiced.
Some of our favorite ways to enjoy beets are:
Beets are wonderful on their own or when incorporated into soups, salads, smoothies and more.
Beets are a nutritious root vegetable that you can eat in soups, salads, smoothies, and many other dishes.
To cut beets safely at home, remember that a sharp knife and cutting board are essential.
Also keep in mind that the color pigments in beets can stain. Be prepared to quickly wash anything the beets touch to minimize staining.
Depending on how you plan to use a beet, you can easily slice, dice, or even shred the root vegetable for your use.