Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lickety-Split Pickled Beets

This recipe for pickled beets first came about at the Wednesday Community Meal during the summer of 2008 when a kind parishioner donated pounds and pounds of homegrown beets.

We were short on salad ingredients that Wednesday so I thought we could utilize the beets best if we pickled them. So we peeled, boiled and sliced the beets and then tossed them with white vinegar, salt and black pepper.

The guests, especially the older gentlemen like my good friend Roy, went crazy for them. I remember one man saying that the beets brought back memories of summers spent with his grandma.

There were of course a few, mostly younger guests, who were not so excited about the beets and didn't want to eat them. My guess is that they've just never tried them and don't know what they are missing.

Then in 2012, a new volunteer named Kate joined the Wednesday team. Kate who is a super gardener and cook taught me an even better way to cook whole beets.

Her method involves baking the beets in the oven instead of boiling which I think enhances the flavor of the beet and retains more of the nutrients. To put it simply, the beets just taste better and it's so simple to do — All you do is wash the beets, cut off the ends, wrap the whole beets in foil and bake them in a 350 degree oven for an hour. 
Wash the beets.

Lay two pieces of foil on a baking sheet. Two pieces will help ensure that beet juices don't leak out during baking.

Cut off the ends of the beets.

Set the beets on the foil.

Wrap the beets. As you can see I'm using a not so pretty baking sheet for this task. Bake the beets for 1 hour in a 350 degree oven.

After baking, let the beets cool for about 20 minutes in the foil and then all you have to do is use your fingers to rub off the skins. The skins come off easily and there is very little waste.
The skins come off so easily with your fingers. Notice the small pile of waste — This is such an efficient method.

Then you just need to slice the beets and toss them with vinegar, kosher salt and black pepper. And there you go, quick and delicious pickled beets to add to salads or to devour on their own. I absolutely love them and once I get going, it's hard for me to stop eating them.

Slice the beets

For four large beets, add 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. I've also added fresh dill to the recipe and that's a very nice addition.

Delicious pickled beets ready to eat.

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