With their sweet, earthy flavor, beets make an excellent addition to salads, sauteed leafy greens or grains like brown rice and quinoa. While they can take over an hour to roast in the oven, it only takes about 10 minutes to prepare beets in the microwave. Beets are packed with nutrients like folate, manganese, potassium and fiber, so consider adding them to your regular vegetable rotation.
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Although dark red beets are most common, orange, yellow, white and red-striped varieties are available at farmers markets and grocery stores. While you can find beets year-round, they're best from June through October. Select beets that are firm and heavy with smooth, blemish-free skin. If you can find beets still attached to their leafy greens, cook the leaves as you would kale, collard greens or Swiss chard. Raw beets will remain fresh in your refrigerator for up to two weeks, while cooked beets will be fine for up to seven days.
Preparing the Beets
It's best to trim the beet stems and leaves before microwaving, but be sure to leave at least 1 inch of the stem intact. Keeping the roots and a small amount of the stem attached prevents the beets from leaking moisture, color and nutrients. Wash the beets thoroughly under cold, running water before cooking. Use a vegetable brush to dislodge any dirt or debris that may be stuck to the beets.
Place the beets in a single layer in a microwave-safe dish. Add a small amount of water to the bowl -- 2 to 4 tablespoons should be enough. Cover the dish and microwave the beets on high until they are easily pierced with a fork. Depending on the size of the beets and the power of your microwave, the beets should be ready in 10 to 15 minutes. Always use beets of a similar size to ensure even cooking.
Slicing and Peeling
If the beets are fully cooked, the skin should slip off easily. Allow the beets to cool for at least five minutes before you attempt to peel them. Peeling them can be messy, so wear an apron to avoid staining your clothes. Slice off the roots and stems before attempting to peel the beets. Hold the beet using a paper towel or rubber gloves, then rub the beet to peel away the skin. If the skin doesn't come loose easily, the beets could probably use a few more minutes in the microwave.