Even people who think they don't like beets are won over when they taste them made this way. The texture is much nicer than that of canned beets, and the vinegar and garlic are subtle rather than pungent.
If you make your own herbal vinegars, chive or garlic chive blossom vinegar works well here - just leave out the garlic called for in the recipe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Maceration time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Yield: 1 quart
2 pounds beet roots
- 1/4 cup red wine or herbal vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (more for long-term storage; see the two methods below)
- Salt to taste
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, if the beet greens and stems are attached cut them off leaving about an inch of the stems. Reserve the greens for another use (use them in any recipe that calls for chard).
Scrub the roots clean. Put them into the boiling water and cook at a slow boil until just tender enough to be pierced with a fork. This will take 20 - 40 minutes depending on the size of the beets.
While the beets are cooking, put the vinegar and garlic into a large bowl.
Once the beets are just barely fork-tender, drain them in a colander. When they are cooled enough to handle, cut off the stem and root ends and rub off the skins.
This is the messiest part of the process, but here are two tips that make it easier:
Beet Handling Tip #1
The skins rub off of cooked beet roots more easily while they are still hot. Once cooled, it's much more difficult.
Beet Handling Tip #2
Yes, your hands will be stained bright red after handling the beets. Don't worry, the Lady Macbeth effect goes away after you wash your hands a few times. But if it really bothers you, wear plastic gloves.
Cut the beets into 1/4-inch thick slices or 1/2 to 1-inch chunks, whichever shape you prefer. Add the beets to the bowl and toss with the vinegar and garlic. Leave the beets to marinate for 30 minutes, once or twice during that time.
Discard the clove of garlic. Drain the beets in a colander again, reserving the vinegar if you like (beet-garlic vinegar is colorful and good in salad dressings). Next, use one of the two methods below:
Eat Within a Week Version
Toss with 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil and salt to taste. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Eat Within a Month Version
For longer storage, put the beets into a glass jar or container after draining off the vinegar. Cover them completely with extra-virgin olive oil. Secure the lid and refrigerate for up to 1 month. Bring the beets to room temperature and drain off excess oil before serving.