Salt Baked Beets

Salt Baked Beets

Hello everyone! As I write this newsletter, the wind has officially picked up for the first time this season, and sneaky gusts are making harvest suddenly a lot more dramatic. This is presenting a new experience for the crew members who are new to this area! Today I have a recipe that y’all can use several ingredients from this week’s CSA share to make, and which is a crew favorite.

Salt Baked Beets: For baking/roasting beets in salt, you can actually reuse the salt, which is much more economical and less wasteful than using new kosher salt each time you want to make this recipe. Fun fact: the salt will start to smell sweet after reusing it several times because of the beet sugar. I recommend owning a mortar and pestle (available at the Food Co-op) in order to break up the salt after each time you make these, and storing the salt in an airtight container, made of either plastic or glass. It is also noteworthy to mention that this cooking method will help preserve the beets. I have made beets this way in South America when I was working at a bodega during the late summer/fall, and I was able to keep the beets stored at room temperature throughout the following day and safely snack on them without them spoiling. (Refrigeration was not available to me at my workplace at that time.)

Method for baking beets in salt: Wash and dry the beets, pour 1/4-1/2 inch of kosher salt on the bottom of a deep baking dish (which should be deeper than the height of the beets) and pour kosher salt on top of and around the beets in the dish in order to cover them up as much as possible. It is easiest to do this by using a dish that provides half an inch of space around each beet, for salt to be poured into, but which is not too large so you don’t have to use a ton of extra salt.

Bake, covered, at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 45 minutes (smaller beets cook faster than larger ones). They will be done when easily sliced with a sharp knife. Remove from oven, let sit 30 minutes, and use spoons to remove beets from the hardened salt. Remove skins from the beets when they have cooled enough for your comfort level—it will become more difficult to remove the skins when the beets fully cool. It is also easier to break up the salt when it is still warm.

 I like to slice the beets and put them in salad with arugula and top off with goat cheese, toasted walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette, and a couple raspberries as well. You can add fresh herbs to this salad as well. Our herbs are available for purchase at our Farmstand, The Food Co-op in Port Townsend, and Chimacum Corner Store. I recommend chives, rosemary, and thyme.

Best wishes,