Published March 1, 1994.
Instead of boiling them, steam, roast, or grate beets for less mess and more flavor.
Although most people boil beets, it causes too much bleeding, creating a mess and leeching out flavor.
In looking for the best way to cook beets, we paid special attention to minimizing "bleeding"; many cooks avoid beets because of the mess they can cause both in the kitchen and on the plate. We also wanted to find the method that best retains beets' intense flavor.
Steaming produces beets that are moist enough to use in any recipe. It also minimizes bleeding and concentrates flavor in much the same way that roasting does (although to a somewhat lesser degree). Foil-wrapped roasted beets are more moist than unwrapped roasted beats, but the latter have more flavor. Grating beets is easy and not terribly messy, so don't be intimidated by the thought of beet stains. Whatever the cooking method, you can minimize bleeding by not peeling the skin and by not slicing off the tops of the beets prior to cooking. Peeling after cooking is simple; the skin slips right off with a paper towel.list of recipes