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How To Speedily Cook Delicious Beets In A Microwave?

Beets belong to the root vegetable family. They are not as popular as some other members of the family such as potatoes, carrots, and turnips. Yet, beets are very versatile and are known for their gorgeous deep, reddish-purple color.

With many people wanting to eat more healthily, and doctors and dieticians encouraging us to eat more vegetables, the popularity of the humble beet has been on the rise in recent years.

We know that a diet that is rich in vegetables of different, bright colors, is a healthy way to go. Beets pack a nutritional punch with fiber, vitamin B9, potassium, iron, manganese and vitamin C! Not bad for one food.

Another great thing about beets is that you can eat the entire thing – even the tops! I’ll give you the directions for cooking beet tops in the microwave here as well!

Growing up on a farm, I had my fair share of beets. Mom’s way of preparing them was to cook them in a pot on the stove, then peel them.

She would then make a tangy, vinegar-based sauce into which the beets were stirred. These are called Harvard beets.

Beets can be eaten in different ways, Harvard beets is just one way. Beets are popular in salads where their deep color stands out against mixed greens.

When used this way, beets are typically roasted in the oven, peeled and then sliced or diced, but you can prepare them in a microwave in a fraction of the time.

Roasting beets in the oven is easy, but it is time-consuming. Using the microwave gives you both simplicity and speed. This makes it possible to have beets for dinner even on a busy weeknight.

Whole, Sliced Or Diced?

Beets may be prepared whole, sliced or diced. It really depends on your preference and the intended use.

In a salad, diced beets are often preferred, and if beets are going to be on their own sprinkled with a little seasoning, then sliced may be best. 

Beets are not typically eaten whole. They may be cooked whole in the microwave, but they are usually cut up afterward.

Peel Before Or Peel After Cooking?

The age-old question, peel the skin off the beet before cooking, or do so after it is cooked? There is no right or wrong answer. Rather, it comes down to preference.

The advantages to peeling the beet prior to cooking are that you don’t have to worry about burning your hands, plus an uncooked beet is easier to hold onto than a cooked beet.

The advantages of waiting to peel the beet after it’s cooked are the ease with which the skin comes off, and retaining all of the flesh.

Note: Some people leave the skin on the beet. This is doable if the beets are small. When beets are larger, their skin becomes tougher and rougher and is unpleasant to eat.

How To Cook Whole Beets In The Microwave?

The table indicates 3 minutes for cooking time in the microwave. This time would increase depending on the number of beets you cook and how large they are.

how to cook beets in a microwave

A vegetable peeler is not a necessity, but it is handy to have, and the bristles remove more dirt and grime than is possible with your hands.

Make sure you insert holes in the beets prior to microwaving otherwise the beets may explode. The holes from the fork allow steam to escape.

You may microwave whole beets peeled, but I find it easier to remove the skins after they are cooked using a paper towel.

Never stack beets on top of each other as they will not cook evenly. If you are doing a lot, just do them in batches.

How To Cook Sliced Beets In The Microwave?

Sliced beets are wonderful with a little sauce or seasoning. They can be lovely with chevre or feta cheese. Sliced beets can also be used in a salad, and are the form you want for Harvard beets.

If you have quite small beets and you wish to eat them with the skin on, then you’ll want to wash and scrub them thoroughly.

However, if you prefer to prepare the beets with the skin off, then peel the beets before you put them in the microwave.

how to cook beets in a microwave

Whenever I cook beets, I am reminded of growing up and eating Harvard beets. Mom always served beets that way. Harvard beets have a sweet/sour sauce made from vinegar and sugar, and it’s a nice way to elevate beets.

how to cook beets in a microwave

How To Cook Diced Beets In The Microwave?

Try to make your cubes roughly the same size as this will ensure the beets cook more evenly. Diced beets will not take long because of their small size, but if you are doing a lot it may take longer than 2 minutes.

How To Cook Beet Tops In The Microwave?

Beets give you the bonus of being able to use the whole thing – the tops as well as the beet itself. The tops of beets, known as beet greens, are very tasty. They have a mild flavor, and like the beet, they are sweet.

First of all, when buying beets, make sure that the beets have the tops. Look for healthy greens that don’t have tears and marks on them which may be an indication that insects  have done some chewing.

While beet tops can be fried up in a pan, they can be done more quickly, and just as tastefully, in the microwave.

how to cook beets in a microwave

Beet greens make a really nice side dish. They are great with rice, noodles, pork, chicken, or beef.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Beet Juice Stain?

Beet juice will stain pretty much everything it comes into contact with, your hands, your clothes, the cutting board. Luckily, there are things you can do to avoid becoming a red/purple mess.

To avoid getting beet stains all over your hands, slip on a pair of latex gloves. If you are removing the skin after cooking the beets, remember to put the gloves back on when you are removing the skin.

Don’t wear your best clothes, in fact, wear something you don’t care about so if it gets stained it’s not a big deal.

Wear an apron – not your best one – and be careful if you are using any towels to wipe your hands on.

Even your wooden or plastic cutting board can become stained. Wash it off with lots of hot, soapy water. Rinse it thoroughly.

Are There Different Kinds Of Beets?

Though most of us are familiar with the red/purple beet, there are actually a lot of other types, at least 17! Some we are seeing more often in grocery stores, and depending on where you live, some types will be more available than others.

Yellow beets, golden beets, white beets, and Chioggia are all types that can be grown quite easily. They differ from each other in color and there are slight flavor differences.

Explore them all when you get the chance. Beets are so pretty like the Chioggia that is pink with circles of white – wow!

Is Beetroot The Same Thing As Sugar Beets?

Beetroot and sugar beets are not the same thing. Beetroot is the typical red/purple beet discussed in this article whereas sugar beets are white and they are grown for their sugar which is extracted, and is used as a sweetener.

What Do You Look For In A Good Beet?

When buying beets, whether red, golden, yellow or otherwise, look for skin that is not too dry. If they have the tops attached then that’s a good sign the beets are fresh.

What Is The Best Way To Store Beets In The Fridge?

The refrigerator is an excellent place to store beets for up to one month. Follow these steps

  1. Cut off the beet tops.
  2. Knock off any large clumps of dirt, but do not wash the beets as the moisture will lead them to go bad sooner.
  3. Put the beets in a zippered freezer bag, and try to get out as much air as possible before sealing.
  4. Place the bag in a crisper drawer. 
  5. Take a peek at the beets from time to time to check for any spoilage. Any beets that are beginning to spoil must be removed so that others do not become infected.

What Dishes Can Be Made With Beets?

One of the most iconic dishes made with beets is borscht.  Borscht is a soup which originated in Ukraine. 

Beets are also wonderful in salads. They can be the main ingredient, or may complement a bed of mixed greens and be topped with goat cheese and nuts. 

As a side dish, beets may be served with a sauce (see Harvard beets, above) or with a little orange juice and herbs. Ginger and honey are lovely on beets!

Beets can even be made into tasty beverages such as a beet negroni, or a combination juice consisting of apple, beet and carrot. Try beets in a smoothie for a beautiful, jeweled-tone, and healthy beverage.

how to cook beets in a microwave

How To Cook Whole Beets In The Microwave?

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Active Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Washed and scrubbed beets are poked with a fork all over then placed in a microwavable dish and cooked for 3 minutes - 5 minutes.

Materials

  • Beets - as many as you wish to use.

Tools

  • Vegetable scrubber
  • Fork
  • Microwavable dish or plate
  • Hot pads or oven mitts
  • Paper towel for peeling after cooking

Instructions

  1. Wash and scrub the beets with a vegetable scrubber, or use your hand if you do not have one.
  2. Poke the unpeeled beets with a fork all over.
  3. Place the beets on a microwavable plate or in a dish.
  4. Microwave for 3 minutes.
  5. Check for doneness by inserting a fork. If it goes in easily, the beets are done.
  6. If the beets are not done, add time in 30 seconds increments, checking for doneness after each.
  7. Remove the container from the microwave using hot pads and let cool.
  8. Once cool enough to handle, with a paper towel, peel the skin from the beets.
How To Cook Sliced Beets In The Microwave?

How To Cook Sliced Beets In The Microwave?

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Beets are peeled, then cut into even slices. They are placed in a microwave-safe container, and cooked for 2 minutes.

Materials

  • Beets - as many as you wish to use.

Tools

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Microwave-safe container
  • Plastic wrap
  • Fork
  • Hot pads or oven mitts

Instructions

  1. Peel the beets.
  2. Cut off both ends of the beets and slice evenly.
  3. Place the sliced beets in a microwave-safe container.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  5. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  6. Check for doneness by inserting a fork into the beets. If the fork goes in easily, the beets are done.
  7. Remove the container from the microwave using hot pads or oven mitts.
How To Cook Diced Beets In The Microwave?

How To Cook Diced Beets In The Microwave?

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Beets are peeled, then cut into 1-inch cubes. They are placed in a microwave-safe container, and cooked for 2 minutes.

Materials

  • Beets - as many as you wish to use.

Tools

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Microwave-safe container
  • Plastic wrap
  • Fork
  • Hot pads or oven mitts

Instructions

  1. Peel the beets.
  2. Cut the beets into 1-inch cubes.
  3. Place the beets in a microwave-safe container and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  4. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  5. Check for doneness by inserting a fork into the beets. If the fork goes in easily, the beets are done.
  6. Remove the container from the microwave using hot pads or oven mitts.
How To Cook Beet Tops In The Microwave?

How To Cook Beet Tops In The Microwave?

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

The leaves from beet tops are removed and washed, and placed in a dish with melted butter and sugar. They are cooked for 3 minutes.

Materials

  • Beet tops
  • Butter, melted
  • White sugar

Tools

  • A microwave-safe container
  • Plastic wrap

Instructions

  1. Tear the leaves from the tough stem of the beet tops.
  2. Wash the leaves thoroughly.
  3. Put a bit of butter in a microwave-safe dish and melt in the microwave on high for a few seconds.
  4. Remove the dish and add some sugar.
  5. Add the leaves from the beets, and stir.
  6. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and return to the microwave.
  7. Cook on high for 3 minutes.
Jess Smith
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