Beets to a different drummer

3 Apr

I discovered fresh beets several years ago and can’t get enough of them! They are surprisingly easy to make, and are the perfect snack, salad ingredient or side dish. Today’s recipe is for sweet and sour beets. I found the recipe in Deliciously Healthy Jewish Cooking by Harriet Roth (1996). Formerly director of the Pritikin Longevity Center Cooking School, she authored several healthy eating cookbooks. And lucky me, she always sent me copies so I would promote her cookbook to her AEPhi sisters (I edit the sorority’s magazine).

Rather than stir the sauce into the beets, I simply drizzled it over the slices in a bowl. To be clear, I have no idea who Dorothy Essick is but I do thank her for the delicious recipe! You can still find this recipe on Amazon.

Dorothy Essick’s Sweet and  Sour Beets

2 bunches small beets (about 2 pounds)

½ cup diced red onion and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (optional)


1 cup cider vinegar or red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ cup sugar, or to taste

Fresh orange juice or water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut off all but ½ inch of the beet tops and leave the tails on. Scrub the beets with a vegetable brush, being careful not to break the skin. Place in a covered casserole and  bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until tender (test with the point of a paring knife.) Or the beets may be wrapped individually in foil and baked at 325 degrees for about 2½ hours. They tend to be juicier baked in foil at a lower temperature. For microwave cooking, place in a covered container with one cup water and cook on High for about 20 minutes or until tender.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, cut off the tops, slip off the skin and slice. Combine the vinegar, cornstarch and sugar in a saucepan and stir over  moderate heat until clear and thickened. Add orange juice or water to thin the sauce if necessary. Stir the beets into the sauce, taste and adjust seasoning.

Sprinkle with red onion and fresh dill. Serve warm or cold.

Cook’s note: I used red beets but you can also make them with golden beets or other varieties.

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