Can you feel the beat?

I love beets. I realize not everyone does, and I can understand that. They do taste a little bit like dirt, but they are also sweet and rich and lovely. My parents used to tell us that eating beets was what made our blood red, which somehow seemed cool to us. Roasted beets are my favorite. 100 times better than the canned variety, and a snap to make. I also like them raw, shredded over salad or pasta.

– 4 or 5 medium beets, scrubbed
– Olive oil
– Kosher salt

Spray a square sheet of tinfoil with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place one beet (or two if small) in the center of the foil and wrap tightly. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 1 hour, until beets are easily pierced with the tip of a knife.

Let beets cool, unwrap and with gloved hands (unless you don’t mind having magenta skin) slip the beet skin off. It should come off easily just by pushing with your fingertips. From this point, you can slice or dice for salads, pasta, or just by themselves. I find that roasting beets is the best way to enhance their sweet, rich flavor.

Pickled beets are an amazing addition to salads, sandwiches, as an accompaniment to pate, or a side dish to pork chops. We have been eating them on sandwiches with black bean hummus, roasted tofu, and lettuce – so good!

Slice the roasted beets and place in a large container (no metal). Next, make your brine.
– ½ cup apple cider vinegar
– ½ cup water
– 1/3 cup sugar or honey
– 1 bay leaf
– 4 whole cloves
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 3 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced thin
– 4 whole pepper corns
– 4 whole allspice berries
– 1 cardamom pod
– 1 pinch red chili flakes
– 1 tablespoon salt

Simmer all ingredients over medium heat until sugar and salt dissolve. Taste and adjust for sweet, sour and salt. I tend to like my pickled beets a bit sweeter and less sour, so just add ingredients until it tastes good to you. Keep in mind the natural sweetness of the beets. If the mixture is too strong, add a little more water.

Pour the warm liquid over the beets, pushing down beets to submerge. Let cool and place in the fridge. These will keep for a week or two (if they last that long!).

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