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Learn how to cook these brilliant red beets, whether it’s boiled, steamed or roasted. This vegetable can be eaten as a side dish, for almost any main meal, providing the healthy addition you’ll need, and find yourself reaching for more often than you’d like to admit! So if you’re wondering how to steam beets, I got you!
Table of Contents
What are Beets?
Beets can be used for many things besides food. They are used as a vegetable and a source of sugar. Beets are the root of a plant, which has long been cultivated for its edible bulbous taproot called the beetroot or beet. The leaves of beets are ornamental and edible man-made vegetable that is commonly called Swiss chard or simply chard. Some supermarkets sell them pre-packaged in clamshell containers; they’re also widely available at farmers’ markets during warmer months, often sold by small-scale growers who have spent years perfecting their technique. The best way to cook them? Steamed beets!
How to Steam Beets in an Instant Pot?
Steaming beets in an instant pot are the quickest way to cook these ruby red veggies. Steaming them keeps them firm so they retain their shape and texture. You can also steam other vegetables, such as carrots, and potatoes, as well as fruits like pears.
The time it takes to steam beets depends on their size: larger ones will take longer than smaller ones. You’ll need one cup of water for every pound of beets, the pot should not have more than one-third full with water or else it will boil over. Once the steam cycle has finished, open the lid quickly – when using an electric pressure cooker hot steam will instantly escape from inside. Remove each beet by holding onto its stem end with a clean kitchen towel.
You can steam as few or as many beets at once in your instant pot. The time it takes to steam depends on how large the beets are, but it’s usually somewhere between 15 and 25 minutes. To check if your beets are done, use a fork to pull out one of the smaller halves. If the beet slips out easily, then it’s done. If not, give them another 5 minutes or so and try again!
Once you’ve removed all of your beets from their skins, store them on parchment paper-lined baking sheets for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
How to Prepare Beets?
When you’ve bought them home from the grocery store, you need to prepare beets for storage unless you plan to cook with them right away. Properly stored beets will last longer and have a better flavour.
- Begin by cutting off the beet greens, leaving at least 1 inch of stem attached.
- Wrap them lightly in paper towels, and store them in a plastic resealable bag for up to 2 weeks.
When you’re ready to cook the beets, remove them from the refrigerator and gently scrub them with a vegetable brush to remove any dirt or debris. After the beet is washed, you will prepare it according to how you plan to cook it.
How to Cook Beets?
Many have encountered these man-made vegetables in canned, pickled or boiled form. While beets can be scrumptious in all these preparations they might not be the best representation of this sweet and earthy vegetable for you. The key to cooking beets and enjoying them is by finding a way to prepare them that makes you appreciate their distinctly sweet and rich flavours.
Beets are equally delicious no matter how they are cooked, roasted, steamed or boiled. The key is to experiment with different cooking techniques, before settling for the one that works best for you. Once you’ve cooked your beets, then their methods of use are endless. You can use them in salads, to make hummus, or blend in smoothies. Dice them to make coleslaw or mash them to make a spread.
Here are a few cooking methods for beets:
- Roasted Beets
- Microwaved Beets
- Steam Beets
- Boiled Beets
Roasted beets are incredibly sweet, with little hints of mineral flavours. Roasting whole large beets take up to an hour, so this would be great for a weekend where you can sit and wait around. If you want your beets to roast in less time, then pick smaller beets.
- Dry clean the beets with a kitchen towel to remove excess moisture. Remove taproot. In a medium bowl, combine 2 to 3 medium beets with a little olive oil, salt and pepper then stir to coat.
- Wrap all the beets in foil and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet
- Roast at 400F until fork-tender for 30-45 minutes (medium beets) or 40 to 60 minutes (larger beets)
- Remove the beets from the oven and let them cool for 15 to 20 minutes, then trim the stems and peel the skins off.
Microwaving beets might be the fastest way to cook them, and works well for those in a rush. Additionally, they will retain their natural earthy flavours. Small to medium beets are ideal for this cooking method. Large beets might emerge rubbery on the outside before the inside is tender enough to eat.
- Begin by placing the cleaned beets in a microwave-safe dish
- Add enough water to cover the bottom of the dish, then cover with a plastic wrap
- Set the microwave to high, and let it spin with the beets inside for 12 to 15 minutes, or until fork-tender
- Let it stand for 5 minutes, remove the taproot, trim the stems and remove the skin.
Steaming beets is a healthy cooking method because the beets retain most of their vitamins and minerals, and stay incredibly vibrant. Furthermore, steaming small beets or beet quarters is quick and easy for weeknights.
- Remove the remaining stems and taproots from cleaned beets
- Cut each beet into 1/2 – to 1- inch cubes or wedges
- Bring a small amount of water to a boil in a large stockpot. Place a steamer basket in the pot so its bottom rests above the water level
- Put the beet pieces in the basket, cover the pot and steam for 10 to 15 minutes (smaller beets) or 20 to 30 minutes (medium to large beets)
- Remove the beets from the basket and let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove the skin.
Boiling beets produce tender beets with minimal intensity in flavour. Boiling beets also produce terrific colours out of the root vegetables.
- Trim off the remaining stem and taproot from cleaned beets, place the beets in a large saucepan and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer, until fork-tender
- Immediately transfer the beets into ice-cold water, and peel the skins off.
Instant Pot Red Beets
Instant pot beets are great for side dishes, they can be marinated or pickled, added to soups or pureed and added to smoothies.
When planning to cook beets in an instant pot, you want to ensure that your beets are completely clean, before pouring your water into the instant pot. Place your beets into the pot, then close the lid and turn the valve to the “seal” position. Select “pressure cook” or “manual” on high pressure, and set the timer to 20 minutes.
Once the pressure has been naturally released and the pot is ready to use again, carefully remove the beets from the pot. Allow them to cool so you can handle them without burning yourself. On a plastic cutting board, or hunched over the sink, peel the skins off the beets just by pressing into the beet slightly – they should peel right off.
What to do With Steamed Beets?
Steamed beets make an incredible side dish. You can enjoy this ruby red vegetable in a variety of ways, whether served hot or cold or at room temperature. It pairs well with many types of foods and is often used as an accompaniment to other dishes. When steamed and chopped up they become incredibly tender, sweet and delicious in salads. Here’s how to make one:
- Add about 1 to 2 cloves of minced garlic and squeeze lemon over them.
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Drizzle olive oil over the top before serving
To Steam or Not to Steam
Steaming beets is just one of the methods used to cook beets. It is important to have these veggies tender and ready to use for side dishes, soups, salads, or anything you desire.
How Long Should You Steam Beets?
Steam the beets 2 inches above the water, bring it to a boil over high heat and cover. Turn down the heat to medium. Steam small beets for 30 minutes and large beets for 40.
Is it Better to Steam or Boil Beets?
Boiling will soften your vegetables faster and thoroughly. Steaming will help retain their natural flavour, colour and nutrients.
What is the Healthiest Way to Cook Beets?
Steaming beets is a healthy cooking method because the vegetable retains most of its minerals, and they’re not boiled out into the water, lost in its boiling depth.
Are Steamed Beets Healthy?
Steamed beets are a good source of potassium, manganese, and folate as well as vitamins A, B6, C and K. They are low calorie, can be good for the organs and have anti-inflammatory properties.