Beets, beloved for their sweet, earthy flavor, are very dense by nature and require blanching prior to some other preparations. When pickling or using beets in a salad, for example, blanching, or partially cooking, the beets will break down the density of the fibers and allow the pickling liquid or dressing to fully penetrate the vegetable. If you are using beets in a gratin or other baked dish, blanching the beets first will allow them to cook evenly without the other ingredients overcooking.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water to make an ice bath for the blanched beets. Set aside.
Peel the beets. If they're over 2 inches in diameter, cut them into quarters.
Place the beets into a pot large enough to hold the beets in a single layer. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 5 minutes.
Remove the beets with slotted spoon and carefully drop them into ice water bath. Once cooled, drain the beets in a colander.
Items you will need
- Large bowl
- Large pan
- Large slotted spoon
- Beets, especially the most common red beets, are intensely colored and will discolor anything they touch. When peeling, cutting and transferring beets from water, be sure to use dark towels to keep them from discoloring lighter kitchen towels, and use gloves to keep from discoloring your hands.
- If your beets come with green, leafy tops, use as you would chard or spinach rather than throwing them away.
- Eating Well: How to Pickle Anything
- Larousse Gastronimique; Genevieve Beullac
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