The Best Way To Choose Beets For Roasting

When you roast root vegetables, something magical happens. They take on new levels of flavor, with elevated nuttiness and caramelized sweetness. Beets are no exception to this rule. Known for their vibrant colors and health benefits, beets are an amazing root vegetable to cook. Roasting brings out a complex taste in these bulbs, and choosing the best ones for this technique is really quite simple. Like other root vegetables, they are best when they are fresh. But how exactly can you tell if a beet is fresh

A ripe beet will be firm to the touch. Holding a beet that's perfect for roasting should be like holding a brand-new baseball in your hand. However, if it is soft and squishy or the greens have wilted, it is past its prime. The outside of a squishy beet can also look about the same as a ripe beet, which is why you have to get your hands on one to make sure that it is firm enough. Likewise, any of these root vegetables that have visible signs of mold, are blemished, have off smells, or taste bitter are not suitable for roasting or consumption. 

How to roast beets

Now that you have your firm beets, it is time to roast them. One of the easiest methods is to cook the beets whole. All needed for this is a baking tray, some aluminum foil, and a wire rack to place on the baking sheet. The beets need to be cleaned, removed from their greens, and wrapped loosely in aluminum foil. Roast them in a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven for 40 to 50 minutes, checking them every 20 minutes or so to make sure they aren't burning. 

One of the main reasons to hunt for firm beets is that they will hold their shape extremely well during their time in the oven. You want to aim for an al dente beet which, like pasta, should have a slight firmness to it. Once the root vegetables have cooled, you can remove the outer skins, and eat them straight away or store them in the fridge for up to a week. Freshly roasted beets are fantastic with grilled meat, a warm vegetable platter, or tossed with goat cheese and herbs. Just be sure to use them while they are crisp and firm for the best possible roasted results.