From the NYT: Recipes for Health - Beets:
Recently in the Well blog, Tara Parker-Pope wondered if she has been missing out on beets, which one researcher recently identified as nutritional powerhouses, high in folate, manganese and potassium.
If you, like Ms. Parker-Pope, have never made beets, then yes, you really are missing out. It’s easy to love fresh beets, and not just for their nutritional advantages. Beets have an earthy, hard-to-define flavor like no other vegetable’s, one reason they so often appear on high-end restaurant menus. But they're perfect at home, too, and so this week we'll be offering some simple ways to prepare them.
Beets are available year-round, but the best time to buy them is June through October, when they are at their most tender. Look for unblemished bulbs with sturdy, unwilted greens. In addition to the usual red variety, you may find beautiful golden beets, and pink-and-white striated Chioggia beets. Unless a red color is important to the dish, either type can be used interchangeably with red beets.
Often purchasers ask that the greens be chopped off. That’s a mistake -- the greens bring an additional set of nutrients to the plate, most notably beta-carotene, vitamin C, iron and calcium. Take your beets home from the farmer’s market with the greens intact.
Roasting is the easiest way to cook beets, not least because the skins will slip right off. Cooking them this way is easy.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the greens away from the beets, leaving about 1/4 inch of stems. (Later this week, we'll show you how to sauté the greens.) Scrub the beets and place in a baking dish (or lidded ovenproof casserole dish). Add 1/4 inch of water to the dish. Cover tightly. Place in the oven and roast small beets (three ounces or less) for 30 to 40 minutes, medium beets (four to six ounces) for 40 to 45 minutes, and large beets (eight ounces or more) for 50 to 60 minutes. They’re done when they’re easily penetrated with the tip of a knife. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the covered baking dish. Cut away the ends and slip off the skins.
Roasted beets are wonderful on their own or simply dressed with a vinaigrette, and they will keep for five days in a covered bowl in the refrigerator. Best not to peel them until you plan to eat them.
Approximate Nutritional Information: 1 roasted beet: 44 calories; Total fat: 0.2g; cholesterol 0mg; sodium 77mg; Total carbohydrates 10.0g; Dietary Fiber 2.0g; Sugars 8.0g; Protein 1.7 g. (Data provided by calorie-count.com)