The beets I remember from my childhood were bright red and slimy, and they came in a jar. They always seemed to be alongside something good on a plate at my grandmother's house. I remember hating them...mostly because the icky juice ran all over the plate and seemed to taint the good stuff like roast turkey or beef.
Now that I'm all grown up, I've discovered a whole new world of beets. This root vegetable is available year-round, is inexpensive, and is high in folate, manganese, and potassium. Beets are most tender from June through October so it's a perfect time to give beets a try. Many people enjoy pickled beets, but I prefer roasting. The easiest way to roast beets is to clean them, wrap them in foil, and place them in a 400 degree oven about 45 minutes or until tender. After roasting in foil, the peel will slip right off and then you can slice the beets for a salad, or mix them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a little goat cheese. The natural color adds so much to your plate...Your imagination is your only limit as to how to prepare and serve.
You can find hundreds of recipes on the internet for how to prepare beets. Here's a simple one for roasting. The chopped walnuts add a great crunch to the earthy flavor of the beets.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and cube fresh beets (about 1 beet per serving). Place the beets and some chopped walnuts on a cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast about 45 minutes or until beets are fork tender. (After the first 12-15 minutes, remove the walnuts and set aside.) When beets are the consistency of baked carrots, they're ready. Toss with chopped walnuts and serve.
Trust me, these are not your grandmother's beets. In fact, you can't beat this root vegetable!