You may have never even thought of this question, but you would be surprised how many people are embracing the root-to-tip lifestyle. This is a movement that tries to use every part of an ingredient, from its root to its tips.
Beets are an especially versatile ingredient and you would be amazed by how many parts of it is edible.
But, can you eat beet skin? Most parts of beets are completely edible, including beet skin. The skin is versatile and contains many nutrients. You can create delicious savory beet crisps or incorporate the skins into soups and stews.
In this article, we will explore the unknown world of beet skins and see exactly how you can utilize this overlooked element. We will look at exactly what they consist of, their flavor profile, how to prepare them, and ultimately, some interesting ways to use them.
How To Eat Beet Skin
We’ll jump right into our topic with this article. Beet skins are completely safe to eat.
At this point and time, the main drive behind the question has more to do with the root-to-tip movement. This movement tries to use every part of an ingredient to reduce food wastage. And we love it!
Beets especially are surprisingly usable. Virtually every part of it can be safely eaten. This includes the roots, flesh, skins, stems, and leaves. Every element has different nutritional builds.
Naturally, beet skins differ a lot from traditionally peeled and diced beets. So, the way they are used or incorporated into dishes also differs. But more on that later.
Beet skins can be eaten raw or cooked. We recommend cooked though because the raw counterpart may taste very earthy, have a hard texture, and be slightly bitter for most people’s liking. So, cooking them is best for us.
For now, you no longer have to worry about whether or not they are safe to eat.
Do You Have To Peel Beets?
Traditionally beets are peeled after (or before) they have been cooked.
Either way, the skins are removed more often than not.
Studies have shown that the main reason people remove skins from certain vegetables (carrots and potatoes included) is because of a misconception about hygiene.
Certain vegetables grow underneath the ground. In today’s culture, these ingredients are often sprayed with insecticides.
So, instead of washing the vegetables properly, they completely remove the skin.
When cooked at higher temperatures, the heat will also kill other bacteria that may still be present on the surface of the vegetables.
The bottom line is that you do not have to peel beets. But, you do have to give them a good wash under clean running water and cook them at high temperatures.
Are Beet Skins Healthy To Eat?
Beets themselves are packed with nutrients while being very low in calories. They are one of the few vegetables that contain almost all of the vitamins and minerals your body requires.
It is also a vegetable that is surprisingly high in protein. This makes it a popular plant-based meat substitute in vegan and vegetarian diets.
What Does Beet Skin Taste Like?
Beet skin has a very unique flavor. It does naturally have a beet-like flavor, but it is often described as being slightly more bitter as compared to the flesh. It also has a definitive sweet flavor with floral hints.
If you don’t like regular beets, then you will likely not like the skins either. To you, it may just taste like dirt. That being said, these skins can be prepared in ways that will make you not even realize you are eating beet skin!
The way the skins are prepared and cooked will also naturally have a massive impact on how the skins taste.
For example, if you are simply blending them into a smoothie, they will taste pretty raw, earthy, floral, and sweet.
But, if you dry them out and make crisps from them, the seasoning you add could balance the earthy flavor.
If you are also incorporating beet skins into soups and stews, the accompanying spices and aromatics will mask their flavor.
The skins themselves aren’t so flavor-packed that they will change the entire flavor of your dish. So, this also makes them pretty versatile in use.
How To Prepare Beet Skin
If you are ready to jump aboard the beet skin train, there are a couple of things you have to know about proper preparation techniques. Regardless of how you are going to cook the beet skins, you have to apply these rules.
Step 1: Wash the beet skins
The best way to wash beet skins is underneath cold and clean running water.
Beets grow underground, so the dirt is quite tough to remove. You can even use a potato scrubber to help get tough dirt stains off of them.
Don’t stop until the beets are clean. Otherwise, you may end up having some gritty skins that even have a dirt-like flavor.
Not to mention the fact that you open yourself up to ingesting harmful bacteria!
Step 2: Peel the beets
Now, depending on how you are preparing the skins, you can also peel them after cooking the entire beet. It is certainly a lot easier to remove it once cooked.
However, if for example, you are making beet crisps, you don’t want the skin to become soft before frying it. You will then have to peel the beet before cooking the skins and flesh separately.
To peel beets, use a sharp and sturdy vegetable peeler. Alternatively, you can use a paring knife.
Step 3: Dry the skins
If you have washed them and peeled skins raw, then you may want to pat them dry before frying or roasting them. To get crispy skin, you need to remove as much moisture as you possibly can.
If you have cooked the skins on the beets and peeled them afterward, this step doesn’t apply. What you can do instead, if you feel like it or your recipe doesn’t require liquid, is to strain the cooked skins in a fine-mesh sieve.
How To Use Beet Skins
Beet skins, as we repeatedly mention, are very versatile.
Our favorite way of using them includes making beet crisps. The beets are peeled while they are raw and the skins are either crisped in a deep fryer, air fryer, or oven.
After they have become nice and crispy, they can be seasoned with simple sea salt flakes and pepper.
You can also use cooked beet skins in smoothies, soups, and purees. They can be incorporated into stews and casseroles too.
How To Store Beet Skins
If you want to try any of the above-mentioned ideas but need to store the skins for a while, it is very easy to do.
If you simply want to keep them for a day or two, you can place them inside an airtight container inside the fridge. Try to keep them as cool as possible. The back of the fridge is always a great place.
When you eventually do use them, just keep in mind that their appearance will have changed. Once the skins are removed from the flesh, they immediately start drying out. There is not much you can do to prevent this. But, it won’t change how they are cooked.
If you need to store the beet skins long-term, you can always freeze them for up to 3 months. Again, place them in an airtight container or zip-lock bag. This may no other odors will come into contact with them.
Consider wrapping the containers in foil. The foil adds an extra protective layer that will help prevent freezer burn.
Can you get rid of the earthy taste in beet skins?
The best way to get rid of the earthy flavor is to cook the skins. This will help ultimately dilute the flavor. But, it will never completely remove them.
You can also try seasoning the skins with spices. Even just sea salt flakes will already make a massive difference.
What is the healthiest way to eat beet skins?
Honestly, the healthiest way isn’t our favorite way. Steaming beet skins will help them retain the most amount of their nutrients.
However, it also helps enhance that earthy dirt-like flavor. Instead, we like to either crisp them up in an air fryer or incorporate them into other dishes.
What is the easiest way to peel beets?
It is easiest to peel beets once they have been roasted or boiled. The skin slips right off once the beet has cooled a little. But, depending on how you want to use the skin, you may not be able to use this technique.
Related Article: Can You Drink The Juice From Canned Beets?