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25 Ways to Use Beets

Beets somehow perfectly manage to transition from winter to spring, seeming just as appealing roasted in cold weather as alongside fresh greens when the sun is out. Though many may remember sad salad bar beets with disgust, we promise that freshly roasted beets are so much better than that: sweet, slightly earthy and vividly bright — what else could you want from a root vegetable?

Cook beets any which way — steam, roast or fry — just be wary that they have a tendency to dye anything they touch bright pink, so take care to peel them using an old towel or rubber gloves. It may sound silly and extreme but beets have been used as a natural dye for good reason.

If you can get them with the leafy greens still attached, they’re like a two-for-one deal. Don’t know what to do with those beet greens? Prepare as you would Swiss chard or any other type of leafy green. Once you’ve mastered the saute, up the ante with Beet Green Gratin and Beet Green, Prosciutto and Feta Quiche.

Whether the start of spring has brought extreme cold, heat, rain or snow, beets have got you covered.

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Summer Fest: 4 Beet Salad Best Bets

Red or gold, beets are rich in folates, potassium and vitamins niacin, pantothenic acid and pyridoxine. The red variety is higher in anthocyanins, which are believed to have strong antioxidant properties. Choose beets with tops attached and, if you’re cooking a bunch at one time, try to keep them similarly sized. They can be stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator for about two weeks but you’ll probably be tempted to eat them right away. Featuring them in hot or cold salads really lets their flavor shine.

1. Beet Salad with Crispy Goat Cheese (pictured above)
If you’ve got the time and can roast your own beets, cooking them for an hour or so at 400 degrees F while wrapped in foil with a drizzle of olive oil should do the trick. If you’re in a rush, the packs of already roasted and sealed baby beets are a huge time saver. Serve the lemon juice, honey, olive oil, tarragon and almond-topped beet salad with warm, crispy goat cheese rounds.

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The Top 10 Reasons to Get Excited for Spring

Spring has sprung, officially. Which means that produce options open right up — not unlike windows in homes everywhere — as freshly grown produce floods the marketplace. While it was nice to eat apples, squash, potatoes and onions all winter, it’s no doubt time to wave goodbye and welcome a new round of delectable fruits and vegetables.  Here’s a round-up of the 10 spring superstars we’re psyched to see arriving in the next couple of months, and some great recipes to make the most of them.

10. Asparagus

Asparagus Wrapped in Proscuitto With Beurre Blanc (above)

Sesame Grilled Asparagus

Asparagus and Zucchini Crudi

Spinach-Ricotta Pesto Pasta With Proscuitto and Asparagus

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We Got the Beets

Photo Courtesy Cannelle et Vanille

As winter vegetables go, beets are pretty much as controversial as you get.  You don’t hear people debating the virtues of the potato or the butternut squash, but most people either love or hate these sweet, earthy root vegetables.

I’ve been in the former group almost from the time I was in the womb, but if you’re still leery of these roots, these unexpected recipes from Cooking Channel chefs and bloggers around the Web (beet gnocchi and beet-chocolate cake, anyone?) might just change your mind.

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Fall Fest: Roasted Beet Salad

Kelsey's Roasted Beet Salad, topped with pears, toasted almonds and goat cheese.

Fall Fest 2010We’re teaming up with other food and garden bloggers to host Summer Fest 2010, a season-long garden party. Each week we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. To join in, check out awaytogarden.com.

If you think you hate beets, chances are you’ve just never had them cooked properly. Perhaps your 8-year-old self was force-fed slimy, pickled beets from a can, so of course you’re still fearful. Well it’s time to give beets a chance. In celebration of Fall Fest 2010, this week, we’re talking about root vegetables. And among the potatoes, rutabagas, carrots. turnips and other fine veggies in this group, beets stand out as an under-appreciated jewel . . . a diamond in the rough . . . a ruby in the dirt, if you will.

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