beets   BEETS with

by Florence W Deems

This recipe originated from refrigerator scrounging by Flo one day. Amounts are "to taste," unless otherwise specified.
The Beets
As many beets as needed, well scrubbed.
Try orange (see image) as well as red beets.
Slice beets about 1/4 inch thick. Put in water to cover plus a couple pinches of salt and about 1 T white balsamic vinegar. Bring to boil and reduce heat. Gently simmer, covered, for about 20-30 minutes. Larger, older beets may take longer. Drain, SAVING COOKING LIQUID (see "Beet Syrup" below), and cool.
Sour Cream Sauce
1 c sour cream
1/4 c mayo
1/2 t salt
1/4 t fresh ground white peppercorns
1 T capers, drained
1 T fined chopped fresh dill leaves
or 1 t dried dill weed
1 t lemon juice (optional)
Mix sauce ingredients and cover. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to blend.
Serve beets either cold or warm with the sauce.

This sauce is also good for baked potatoes, as a dip for chips, on baked salmon, cukes, etc.

Beet Syrup

This uses the beet cooking water that you saved from boiling the beets. (What this really is, is the so-called "Simple Syrup" made of equal parts water and table sugar. But in this case we're substituting the beet water for plain water, and the much tastier brown or sucanat sugar for the table sugar.)

For each cup beet water add 1/2 cup brown or Sucanat sugar.

Combine in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and allow to reduce, stirring often, until the syrup coats a wooden spoon. Cool and pour into a small covered jar and refrigerate.

This syrup is very sweet and flavorful and a beautiful dark red color. The couple pinches of salt and the one T of Balsamic vinegar you added when you boiled the beets is what brings out the sweetness. If you don't tell people this is beet syrup, they might not be able to tell what it is. Keep them guessing! Use it on pancakes, waffles, French toast, fruit salads, etc.

NOTE: When buying beets, try to find younger ones that still have their leaves attached. Check over the leaves carefully, as they bruise and go bad quickly. Use beet greens mixed with kale, collards, mustard, and/or dandelion greens. Their sweetness compliments the bitterness of the mustard and dandelion greens very nicely.

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