For hundreds of years, beet juice has been used for cosmetics, as food coloring and to dye clothing. For this reason, many home cooks are wary of peeling this colorful vegetable, as it can stain hands and clothing. Arm yourself properly, and peeling a beet is no more difficult than peeling a potato.
Run the beets under cold water and remove any dirt using your fingertips. Handle them gently, being careful not to break the skin.
Put on a pair of latex gloves if you do not want to scrub stains from the beet juice off of your hands when you are finished.
Hold the beet firmly in your non-dominant hand. Using your dominant hand, grip the peeler and peel the beet the same as you would peel an apple or carrot. Use the vegetable peeler slowly and methodically, always peeling away from your hands, to avoid cuts.
Dispose of the peelings and continue your preparation of the beet for your recipe.
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- If you choose not to use latex gloves, you can simply wash your hands afterward, using a rough cloth to scrub away any stains.
- If you plan to cook the beets, do so with the skin on, advises the University of Wisconsin Extension Service. After the beet is cooked, the skin will slide right off. Use thick gloves to take the skin off in order to avoid burns.
- If a beet is young with tender skin, you may not need to peel it at all. Always peel older beets with tough skin, however.
- Wear an apron to prevent beet juice from staining your clothes.
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.