I love beets and I will happily eat them raw or cooked, warm or cold. Beets are part of the chenopod family which also includes Swiss chard, spinach and quinoa. They are quite good for you! Beets are high in vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for good nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which contributes to healthy bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). They also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
I recently taught a delicious salad in my summer classes which included roasted beets, burrata, hazelnuts and mint. Most people found it very helpful to watch a demo of how I cooked the beets from scratch. I say “most people” because some already knew how to cook beets, and some didn’t care because they are perfectly content to buy them already cooked at the market.
And believe me, I’m well aware that many grocery stores have cooked beets either cell-wrapped in the produce section or at the salad bar. You will pay a premium of course, and when you watch this video you’ll be convinced how easy it is to do yourself. The only flaw with the video is that my demo of inserting the tip of a knife into the beet to test for doneness was edited out. Frown. But the gist of it is that you want the knife to go into the center easily.
For sure beets take some time to cook, anywhere between 45 and 75 minutes depending on the size. So they’re not “instant.” If you have different sizes, set the cook time based on the largest beet. I generally like to prep them ahead either in the morning or up to three days in advance. Once they have cooled, pull them from the pan and store them in the fridge whole, peeled or peeled and cut.