9 WAYS TO MAKE EVERY DAY MORE VIBRANT WITH BEETROOT
Beets have been enjoying a bit of a renaissance for their natural goodness and versatility in the kitchen – they can be earthy and savory – dressed with a little vinaigrette and a crumble of goat cheese – or sweet and craveable – baked into a delicious dessert. Beets’ ability to accommodate different flavor palettes and cuisines can be a delightful surprise but there are other unexpected ways to use beets that can help make every day more vibrant.
With names like Red Ace, Bull’s Blood, Moulin Rouge and Ruby Queen, there are a number of beetroot varieties with color and flavor differences to choose from. Read on to discover fresh ways to incorporate them into cooking, as well as how to use them for art supplies and textile dyes.
NEW WAYS TO THINK ABOUT BEETS
Beets have come a long way from the days when they were commonly served in pickled slices straight from a can. Today they’re celebrated for the delicious and nutritious superfoods they are and the range of cuisines they complement. From pizzas and pastas to cakes, salads and side dishes – beets can be roasted, baked, pickled, pureed and sauteed into the star of the plate. Here are a few unexpected twists to the familiar that showcase the delicious beauty of beets.
1. REPLACE FRIES WITH BEETROOT STRINGS
Satisfy your craving for fries with the goodness of beets. This recipe for Beetroot Strings uses a KitchenAid® spiralizer attachment to create the strings and serves them with a sumptuous balsamic goat cheese dip for dunking.
2. ADD BEETROOT TO YOUR SMOOTHIE
Adding beets to your morning smoothie is a brilliant way to get the day started. This recipe for Strawberry Orange Beet Smoothie is bright and delicious.
3. EAT BEETROOT RAW
Beets are great raw. Slice them up and serve them with your favorite seasonings for a fresh, crunchy snack, or as an unexpected addition to a charcuterie board.
4. DON’T FORGET THE GREENS
Instead of tossing the beetroot greens aside, toss them in the saute pan with a little olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. It just takes a minute or two before they wilt into deliciousness. Finish the greens with a squeeze of lemon and a handful of toasted nuts before plating.
5. PUT A DELICIOUS TWIST ON THE FAMILIAR
The nutrition-packed flavor bombs that beets are can help you add a tasty, colorful punch to every day dishes. Here are a few new takes on familiar favorites.
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BEET CAKE
CHILAQUILES WITH SPICY BEETROOT SALSA
ZESTY ROASTED BEET HUMMUS
TIP: REMOVING BEETROOT STAINS
Working with beetroot can leave color behind on hands and kitchen surfaces. Removing traces of these vegetables from wooden cutting boards can be accomplished by sprinkling surfaces liberally with coarse salt and rubbing it in with half a lemon. To remove stains from hands, rub with baking soda and water, then rinse.
ADD BEETROOT TO YOUR CREATIVE TOOLBOX
Dyeing textiles and creating pigments with vegetables has been around for millennia and beetroots are great vegetables for making dyes in the light pink to darker purple range. Get creative and experiment with proportions of water and beets to achieve different saturations of color.
6. DYE TABLE LINENS WITH BEETROOT
You can turn a basic white cotton tablecloth and napkins into a hand-dyed artisan addition to your tablescape with beetroot and a couple of pantry staples. Start with a new, clean tablecloth and napkins. Natural fibers take vegetable dyes better, so 100% cotton or linen work well. Depending on the intensity of color you’re going for, you’ll need to experiment with the number of beets and the amount of water you’ll use. Start with a standard bunch (3-4) and add or subtract to increase/decrease pigment. Clean and quarter the beets, add them to a large pot with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and salt (this helps set the dye). Cover with water until the water level reaches an inch or two above the beets. Bring beets to a boil, then reduce temperature and simmer for about an hour. Strain the beets. Once your “beet red” dye has cooled, add your linens to the pot and completely submerge in the dye for up to 24 hours. Soaking for a few hours will achieve a lighter pink. Soaking for 24 hours will produce a vibrant magenta. Let your linens dry outside or in the dryer on low. Finally, impress your friends and family with your hand-dyed beetroot awesomeness.
This technique can work for tie dye as well. Keep in mind that animal fibers take dyes a little differently than plant fibers. A wool will yield more intense, earthier tones while cottons and linens will produce paler, lighter tones.
7. PAINT WITH BEETROOT
Making watercolor paint with beetroot is very similar to making dye. Just clean, chop and boil beets in water for an hour, then pour the liquid into a clean jar.
You can create a thicker, more concentrated paint by following the same process but after the beets have boiled for an hour, blend cooked beets in a KitchenAid® blender until smooth, then squeeze into a clean jar through cheesecloth. Store unused paint in the fridge or freezer.
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8. BEETROOT FOOD COLORING
Amp up your holiday baking with red food dye made from the juice of boiled beetroot. Beets make a festive tint for decorating cookies or frosting cakes.
9. BEETROOT EGG DYE
Beet juice made from boiled beets, vinegar and salt makes a beautiful dye for eggs. You can create a range of Easter “eye candy” by soaking eggs for different lengths of time. A five minute soak will give your eggs a delicate kiss of pale pink, while a soak overnight will turn them a vibrant magenta hue. Keep in mind that the egg color you start with can also impact your final tint. White shelled eggs will produce pinker hues while brown shelled eggs can achieve darker, marooned toned results. Once eggs have reached the desired color, rub them with a little grapeseed or vegetable oil – so they shine – and place them in a clean egg carton to dry.
There are a rainbow of other vegetables to help add pops of naturally beautiful color to your tablescapes. Save your onion skins to dye your eggs. Yellow skins produce earthy orange and rust hues, while red onion skins create lavender hues. Shredded purple cabbage will create beautiful blue tones on white shells and green tones on brown shells. Teas and some spices can also make colorful egg dyes. If you’re going for a bright, sunny yellow – a little ground turmeric will do the trick. And don’t let the creativity end with color, try using herbs or small blossoms as stencils to create designs from the earth on your dyed eggs.
Blue is one of the rarer pigments found in foods, but it can bring a beautiful pop of natural color to not only dyed eggs, but to baked goods and more. Discover more about natural ways to turn foods blue.
UNLEASH YOUR CREATIVITY
Colorful, delicious and vibrant – beetroot is packed with inspiration and possibilities. Let your imagination take you to new, unexpected places. Experiment, explore and enjoy the uplifting beauty of beetroot.
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