A Brief Guide To Cooking Beetroot
There are a number of ways to go about cooking beetroot. The root can be boiled, baked in the oven, or cooked in the microwave. The beetroot can also be pickled as its leaves are as tasty as spinach, to which the beetroot is closely related. The beetroot tuber is rich in fiber and carbohydrates, a good source of potassium, and a very good source of Vitamin B. Beetroot leaves, as one might suspect, are roughly equivalent to spinach in terms of nutritional value, and we all know that spinach is good for us.
Cooking Tips - The approach to cooking beetroot is to some degree determined by the size of the vegetable. Small, or so-called baby beet roots are often cooked whole and do not require the cooking time that a larger sized beetroot, or even beetroot slices will take. A baby beetroot is often cooked with the leaves intact, but usually the leaves should be cooked separately, especially if the beets are to be boiled, to avoid overcooking and a subsequent loss of some of the nutritional value. The best way to prepare beetroot leaves would be to steam them. They can also be shredded when raw and added to a salad mix.
The beetroot, often simply called the beet, is as we have said, high in nutritional value. The vegetable, cooked or raw, tuber or leaves, is supposedly good for the heart, the circulatory system and the digestive system. Although rich in carbohydrates, beet roots have a low glycemic load, slow to convert carbohydrates into sugar, meaning blood sugar levels are generally not affected. There are many claims which would infer that in cooking beetroot all manners of medical problems and disorders can be avoided. It's much safer to simply say that the beetroot is a healthy food.
The beetroot, when purchased, should be fresh with the leaves not yet wilted. If brought in fresh from the garden they may be kept in a crisper in the refrigerator a little more than a week, but do not keep well for a much longer period. The tubers are somewhat better keepers than the leaves, which should come as no surprise. If you want to enjoy the greens, it's best to prepare them when the newly dug vegetable is still quite fresh.
More Cooking Tips - When cooking beetroot, leave the skin on the tuber. Some prefer to peel the beetroot before cooking, but in doing so some of the nutrients and color will be lost in the cooking process. Once a beetroot tuner has been cooked it is an easy task to remove the skin should that be desired. Simply immerse the tuber in cold water or under the cold water faucet for a few seconds and the skin should come right off without the tuber itself significantly cooling down.
One reason more people don't cook beet roots more often has a lot to do with their propensity for making their surroundings beet-colored. Preparing beets for a meal often can mean having to put up with stained fingers, counter tops or cutting boards. A salt-lemon juice paste will do a good job of removing the stains from your fingers, but it may take bleach to clean up the stains on a cutting board. One can always of course wear rubber gloves when peeling or slicing beets.
Baking Is Best - While tastes may vary, many cooks will tell you that the best method of cooking beetroot is baking. Baked beet roots supposedly are more tasty than is the case if they are steamed or boiled. Baking the beet roots is best done by wrapping them in foil to preserve color and nutrients and of course to avoid leaving any unnecessary stains. While often served with butter, salt and pepper, there are a number of herbs and spices which compliment the vegetable well. These include allspice, garlic, thyme, chives, as well as lemon juice. One should go easy on salt as the beetroot is fairly high in sodium.
Save The Stems - A final note. When cooking beetroot tubers or leaves, don't forget the stems. They are good tasting and nutritious as well. Larger stems may be a bit tough and can be discarded, but the stems are best kept intact when cooking baby beet roots or cooking beetroot leaves.