Unexpected Beet Conversions – A (Tongue in Cheek?) Religious Experience

When cooking all those lovely offerings from your garden, it is hard, no impossible, not to go into rapture about their exquisite taste. It was an unexpected surprise to hear, a few weeks ago, my simple preparations would result in the shock of true conversion status.

Something like this:

The Conversion of St. Paul – oil on cypress wood 1600 – Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

I’m referring to beets, and their effects on unsuspecting friends and family. Those unaware of the mighty beet’s persuasive taste.

Detroit Reds

I didn’t go about this in a subversive way, you understand. WISHING ~ WANTING my unsuspecting prey to change their minds about their tastes in vegetables. It just happened. With smiles and asking for seconds. Two people either without previous history of beets, or without knowledge of how good they can be.

There are two (or three) special ingredients involved, besides the beets themselves – freshly pulled from the garden, and including the greens.

And honey, wonderful honey. Read on for these two simple styles of preparing fresh beets.

Beets and Their Greens

a batch of greens, freshly rinsed and chopped – don’t hesitate to use the stems, they’re tasty!

Simply steam the beets and greens (or just the greens, if you’re making, say the balsamic vinegar honeyed beets below) until they are wilted, and the stems are bite-tender. Drain off the steaming water. Add a good lump of quality butter to the pot, the greens, a generous splash of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper (and a small handful chopped fresh basil if you’ve got it.) Taste, and adjust seasonings. Make sure the buttery, balsamic vinegar flavor is right there on your tongue. It blends sooo beautifully with the earthiness of the beets.

Steamed beet greens in butter and balsamic vinegar

Balsamic – Honeyed Beets

This flavor combination really sings. If you’ve read this far, you’ve really got to try it!

simmering with honey and balsamic vinegar for the “best” pickled beets ever
  • 6-7 cups quartered small to medium beets
  • water
  • 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar – approximately
  • 1/2 c. honey

To your pot of clean (to peel or leave unpeeled, this I leave to you, as for me, I scrub them and cut off the ends) quartered beets, add water to cover and boil until just tender, letting the water reduce as it boils. Do not drain. Add in a good 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar, and about the same of honey. Lower heat and simmer 7-10 minutes more. Taste a beet. Have the flavors permeated it? If so, either ladle into sterilized jars and seal, then boil in water bath for 10 minutes, or, ladle into jars and simply cool to keep in the refrigerator. I had beets last this way throughout the winter, though I recommend the hot water bath to you.

so simple, so delicious
out right, no holds barred beet conversion
honeyed, balsamic vinegared beets…

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Alice says:

    Oh, yum! Aren’t beets grand. I think they are my favorite greens too–especially with tiny beets or stems attached. I can smell those simmering on the stove–my mouth is watering.

    1. Thank you, Alice! Yes, I love the tiny beets, too, and the golden and candy striped! Plus – they are so nutrition packed. Thanks for reading my blog!

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