Some of the most beautiful things in the world start out covered in mud and soil. You have to get your hands dirty to get to the best bits, but it is worth it. If you aren’t growing beets in your garden this year, no worries, that’s what the farmers markets are there for.
Look past the dustiness and the huge green leaves. Don’t throw the leaves out though, they are full of vitamins and delicious to saute in oil with garlic.
This is beets 101 the easy way. Remove the stems and leaves. Wash the beets and wrap individually in aluminum foil. Just like baking a spud from Idaho. Pop in a 350 degree oven, or, if you happen to have the grill going, place on the upper rack of the grill and let them roast for an hour. If the beets are tiny, check them after a half hour. One word or warning. If you are using the oven, set them on a baking sheet. They can get drippy and messy.
Set them aside to cool completely, then just pull the outer skin off the beets. The pretty colors will get all over your hands, but honestly, it washes right off. Slice or dice the beets any way you like.
Add them to a clean, large canning jar with some vinegar. This is where your taste preference comes into play. I like white balsamic vinegar especially for the golden beets. It is lighter and brighter and doesn’t mess with the beet color. I also add a teaspoon of salt and some dill from the garden. Don’t fill the jar all the way with the vinegar, it will overwhelm the beets.
Keep the beets in the refrigerator and turn the jar over a few times to make sure the contents marinate fairly evenly.
It is that simple. Red beets are great with slivers of onion added with the vinegar, and cider vinegar works as well with the red beets. The jars keep well in the fridge for a few weeks, if they last that long, and are perfect for a quick and fancy beet and goat cheese salad. For a couple of bucks spent at the farmers market, you get several meals of delicious eye candy.