It beets me!
If you’re like me you like to have something crunchy along with a sandwich for lunch, whether it be a crisp apple or a bag of pretzels. My recent favorite is beet chips. I started experimenting with beets over the summer when we were receiving a plethora of them every week from our farm share. My family is not a big fan of beets in general so I had to reinvent them in a form they would love – chips. Who doesn’t love chips? Especially ones that are healthy for you! Beets are root vegetables that are especially high in vitamins A, C, calcium and iron. They have such a sweet taste when they are concentrated into a chip you wouldn’t even know that you were eating a vegetable! You can use any type of beets to make these chips: chioggia (candy-cane or stripped), garden beets, or golden beets…I have tried them all and they are equally flavorful and sweet!
The most successful method to making beet chips is to use a dehydrator. I realize, however, this is not the most common kitchen appliance. My family only recently got one as a way to preserve some of the food from our farm share. If you have any interest in making homemade chips (veggie and fruit), preserving herbs, or my brother’s favorite, beef jerky, I would highly recommend one. I love the one we have.
A dehydrator dehydrates the beets by cooking them for a long time (12-25 hours!) at a low temperature (135º for beets). This method prevents them from burning or shriveling up to nothing, which happens easily when frying or baking. It is also the healthiest method for making chips because it is not cooked in any oil. They are crunchy without being greasy.
Here is a recipe for homemade beet chips. Even though the chips are most successful when you use a dehydrator you can certainly bake them between two cookie sheets until crisp (350º – keep a close eye on them!) or fry them in peanut oil (be careful that your oil doesn’t get too hot or else they will burn instantly). If you do decide to bake or fry them, forego the soaking method/recipe below.
Yields 6-8 servings
2-3 medium beets (still firm; easy to peel)
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1/2 c. water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt, pepper, and cayenne (optional) to sprinkle chips with
First wash and peel the beets. Then cut the beets using a mandolin or a sharp knife to get the thinnest slices possible. Wisk together vinegar, water, and oil in a medium bowl and soak the beets for up to 10 minutes. Then, arrange the slices on the dehydrator sheets and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set the dehydrator to 135º degrees. Leave them in the dehydrator for 10 hours and then check every hour. Once they reach the desired crispness, remove them and store in an airtight container.
Preheat the oven to 350º. Forego soaking the beets in the vinegar mixture and drizzle with olive oil and salt (they will never cook through if they are too moist). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and the lay the beets on top. Cover with another cookie sheet (bottom greased) to keep them flat. Place them in the oven for 20 minutes and then begin to check them frequently until they are done. They will shrivel up to about 1/4 of the size so use the biggest beets you can find.
Sources: “Vegetarian [Paperback].” Vegetarian: Nicola Graimes: 9780760749531: Amazon.com: Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012. (30) “The Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion (Deluxe Edition) [Hardcover].” The Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion (Deluxe Edition): Sharon Tyler Herbst, Ron Herbst: 9780764162411: Amazon.com: Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012. (43)