When choosing your beets at the grocery store, try to get a bunch that has beets of approximately the same size. By doing this, you will have beets that finish cooking at the same time. If they aren’t the same size, be aware that the smaller ones will finish cooking sooner. You will need to remove them earlier so you don’t have beet mush!
Preparing the Beets
Cut off the greens at the base of the beets.
Cut off the tail of the beet.
Leave the skin on the beets! This is very important!
Boil the water first and then place the beets in it. I started out with a 30 minute time limit with the pot covered. Check the beets by piercing them (or attempting to pierce them) with a fork or knife. When the fork or knife easily pierces the beet and goes toward the middle, coming out with no effort, the beets are done! Beets shouldn't be cooked al dente.
When I checked at the 30 minute mark, I knew that at least another 30 minutes would be necessary. I had chosen large beets at the store.
Thirty minutes later, I set the timer for 10 more minutes. At that point, my two smaller beets were done. I removed them and ran cold water over them while I removed the skins. By the time I was done with that, a few more of the beets were done, and so on and so on.
Important Note About Skin Removal
If you want to place the beets in a bowl of cold water before handling them, do it with the skins on!
Case in point – I removed the skins of the first two small beets and then cut them in half and put them in cold water. I forgot to do it with the next beets, and I’m so glad! Look at the difference in the color of the beets I cut in half and then placed in cold water without skin compared to the beets that I place in cold water with the skin on and in tact before removing the skin:
Removing the skin is easy when the beets are cooked. I took the picture below without the water running just so you could see that all it takes is a little pressure with your thumb and pulling away. The skin will go with it. Easy-peasy! Even easier under running water.
Now you are ready for any beet recipe, such as Costa Rican Beet Salad, or to just eat them as they are.