The Trick To Prevent Beets From 'Bleeding' When Cooking

Anyone who has cooked beets, especially red beets, knows that the preparation process leaves your hands looking as though you've emerged fresh from a crime scene. There is a reason beet juice is used to make edible fake blood in the movies (via Filmmaking Lifestyle). If you're looking to spook your family, smearing beet juice all over yourself would be an excellent way of convincing them that you've suffered some horrible kitchen accident. Then after they've rightly admonished you for your skullduggery, you can come and read this tip about preserving the color of your beets.

If you've gone through the trouble of preparing beets and getting yourself significantly messy in the process — trust us, there's just no way around it — you're gonna want your beet salad, beet hummus, or beet-infused cocktail to look as vibrant and appealing as possible. However, that's easier said than done. 

Beets tend to taste best when boiled since, according to Pants Down, Aprons Up, boiled beets retain a lot of their moisture and sweetness. However, there is a tendency for beets to "bleed" their color while boiling, leaving you with a lackluster presentation that makes your earlier efforts feel pointless. Luckily for you, there is a simple trick that ensures a vibrant boiled beet and a happy home cook.

Add lemon or vinegar for vibrant beets

The beauty of beets is in their color. Whether they are red, yellow, or some other psychedelic mixture, the color of your beet is the first thing that will catch eaters' eyes. So, keeping that color vibrant is essential to keeping beets looking appealing and fresh. A simple trick to prevent your beets from bleeding color, according to The Spruce Eats, is to add a tablespoon of lemon or vinegar to the boiling water.

The addition of vinegar or lemon brings adds acidity to the water, and Pants Down, Aprons Up explains that vinegar in particular helps the pigments in the beets to stay bright. With red beets, the vinegar helps achieve that desired deep pink-purple hue. Plus, the earthy nature of beets pairs well with the acidity of vinegar or lemon. The beets' natural root sweetness combined with that little kick of acidity will elevate the flavors of each and give you a balanced, visually appealing dish that anyone will want to sink their teeth into.