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Cooking School: How to Roast Beets Without Staining Everything You Touch

Chances are you bypass the beets are the farmers market every single time. They’re kinda plain looking and who has time to prep them? You do! Beets are delicious, versatile, and healthy veggies you should be using in everything. Here’s how you can prep them, without driving yourself crazy.

Related: Ingredient Essentials: Beets

First, some background. Beets come in all colors and sizes. So small yellow beets haven’t gone bad, they’re just a different version of the deep purple beets you’re used to seeing. When you’re picking your beets, you want firm, dry bulbs. No soft spots or wetness. And if you can, snag them with the greens still on. They’re delicious.

On to the roasting. Slice off the greens and store those for stir fries and soups. Scrub the beet clean and wrap it in foil. If the beets are small, you can throw a few in one foil packet. Then toss them on a pan (in case of leakage) and roast them in the oven at… 400 degrees. Or 350. Or 500. Whatever works for you. If you’re not cooking anything else, use 400 degrees. If you’re roasting something at 350, that’s fine too. The beets will just take longer.

Check on them. Look in on your beets every 20 minutes after the half hour mark. They’re done when a knife slides in and out easily, like potatoes. If they look dry, drizzle with some olive oil. When they’re ready, let cool to the touch (but still warm for the next step).

Watch out for the skin. The biggest gripe at-home cooks have is with beet juice stains. Beet juice is very, very, very pink and will definitely impart a light hue on your hands and kitchen walls and counters and downright stain your clothes. So put on an apron and use gloves or plastic bags (we’ve done this in a pinch), to gently scrub the skin away from the beet.

Store them. You’re done. That’s it. Slice them, dice them, and throw them in a plastic container with a lid (if you’re worried about discoloration, use glass); they’ll keep in your fridge for a few days and up to a week. 

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