Cooking with Beet Greens

Over Cooked Sweet and Sour Beet Leaves

It seems like every year around this time  I end up with a fridge full of beet greens.  There are only so many bitter sauted greens and garlic I can do for myself, my family won’t touch them, and I just don’t have the heart to compost perfectly edible greens.  I think plain Beet greens might be a bit of a gardener’s acquired taste? For me they are somewhere between spinach and Kale, the flavor is more spinachy but the texture is more Kaley. The full sized leaves some of mine measuring 6” X 4” harvested from the fully ripe beets have a tendency to turn bitter, touch and stringy. So what to do with all those beet leaves?

After countless failures, and experiments,  here are my favorite uses for beet greens:

– to reduce bitterness soak beet greens in fresh  water for at least 2 hours before cooking or eating

-use baby beet leaves to mix into a miscellaneous green leaf salads

-remove the central leaf stalk and very thinly slice to break up the tougher texture

-beet greens  respond well to higher heat cooking and stir frying

-blanch, and thinly slice beet greens to use in place of spinach for lasagna, or other baked dishes

-If your family is still recognizing beet leaves in the lasagna mix 50/50 with spinach

-Use beet greens in curries or spicy dishes they stand up well in a hot curry sauce or  mixed 50/50 with the cabbage for spicy pad thai

-Use larger leaves to roll up filling in baked roll up dishes like cabbage rolls

-if all else fails, blanch, drain, and freeze in 1 cup portions to use throughout the winter, in the same way you would use frozen spinach

And finally here is my  big “use up” recipe for beet greens

Over cooked Sweet and Sour Beet leaves:

4 to 8 cups finly sliced beet leaves

2 tbl Olive oil

 1 tsp Fresh Chili Paste(Sambal Oelek)

2 tsp Fresh garlic

2 tsp Brown sugar

1 tbl Soy sauce

¼ cup Rice wine vinegar

*optional* deep fried garlic slices for garnish

Soak beet leaves in fresh water for 2 to 3 hours. Remove the stems and thinly slice, in a large skillet over  med/high, heat the oil, then add greens and all remaining ingredients.  Stir fry until greens are well done and look slightly over cooked, beyond the wilting stage should have the consistency of spinach gome or kimchi, its okay if the leaves loose their  green luster, over cooking seems to get rid of the most of the bitterness and the oxcilyic acid, you know that chalky feeling you get in your mouth after eating spinach.  Serve on its own if you are serious about using up your beet greens or serve  kimchi style over noodles, rice, tofu, and meats. Its better served hot but its okay served cold too. I like to sprinkle with a few slices of golden deep fried garlic.

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3 Responses to Cooking with Beet Greens

  1. Pingback: A Lettuce Less Salad Garden | My Little City Food Garden

  2. Rhonda Booth says:

    I tried sauteing the beet leaves in olive oil with sliced onions and garlic salt. I then added bacon bits, golden raisins, a dash of lemon juice and a teaspoon of sugar. You could seve this alone or on steamed rice. I loved this. I am going to use the beet leaves instead of spinach in a spinach dip too.

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