When it comes to roasting healthy foods that you can eat and adding them to your dishes, there are a number of different foods that you can work with and add for flavoring, texture, and even the appearance of your dish.
From the common potato that is present in just about every meal to other vegetables that you might only ever see once or twice, there are countless choices to choose from when you are looking at adding vegetables to your dish.
With as many different vegetable choices as there are, you are always going to need to be sure that you know how to prepare the dishes you are interested in.
Of course, there are enough vegetables and enough ways to prepare them that you will surely be able to find a method that works for you but if you are working with certain vegetables for the first time, you might not be so sure on what you should do.
One good example of this is when you use tin foil, or aluminum foil, to help roast the vegetables you are working with to make them a little bit extra crispy. As foil is a thin sheet of metal, it helps to not only absorb the heat of the oven but it can also reflect some of that heat onto the roasting vegetables.
This can cause the exterior skin of the vegetables to cook a little bit faster and become crispier, which is a texture that many people look for in their roasted vegetables.
While it is incredibly common for people to use foil to help improve the exterior texture of roasted vegetables, there are some situations where the foil can actually end up doing more harm than help. With some vegetables, roasting with foil can result in problems with the outer skin, leaving you with a pile of vegetables that nobody really wants to eat.
For example, if you want to roast some beets, you will quickly learn that trying to roast them with foil underneath is not going to end well for you or your beets.
Thankfully, there are a few different ways that you can go about roasting beets without foil and still get the same delicious result that you are looking for.
The Problem with Beets and Foil
Beets are a beloved vegetable for many reasons. Their vibrant red appearance can make them the centerpiece of any dish and they can add considerable color and flavor to a salad if you are inclined to add them.
What puts many people off from adding beets to their meals is the fact that beets have a tendency to stain.
By choosing to roast the beets, the natural sugars in the beet juice can caramelize, adding to the texture and the flavor of the beets themselves.
Even if you aren’t roasting the beets for any reason other than to get rid of the excess moisture, roasting them can enhance the flavor of the beets and turn them into a suitable topping for just about any meal or even a tasty snack on their own.
In fact, there are plenty of different ways that you can flavor your beets to ensure that they are suitable for just about any and all dishes. Beets can be prepared to be a sweet accent to a salad or they can be prepared to be a savory, hearty snack in between meals.
Sometimes people will use beets alongside meats to help enhance the flavor of both the beet and the meat.
Peeling beets can be a quick and easy way to solve the problem of the annoying skin but it also introduces the problem of getting beet juice on the table, on your hands, and potentially on your clothes. One could consider using canned beets but as with many vegetables, the canned variants are rarely as good as fresh beets.
This leaves you with one option left: roasting the juices out of the beet to turn it into a vegetable that is much easier to work with.
Typically, when people look to roast their beets, they also look to include foil as well as this helps to protect the beets themselves during the roasting process. However, many people argue that adding the foil can be more trouble than it’s worth, especially given the fact that the beets’ skins should protect them.
Adding foil to the beets when roasting can cause the amount of time it takes to roast the beets to increase drastically. After all, the heat of the oven has to get through the foil to get to the beets and this can take some time depending on how tight your foil cover is. A lot of people don’t appreciate this.
With this being said, you will want to take some caution when roasting beets without foil. There is some truth to the fact that foil can protect beets during the roasting process as the beets can end up burning in the pan when there isn’t any protection.
Thankfully, there are still a couple ways that you can roast your beets perfectly without getting near any sort of foil.
Roasting Your Beets Without the Foil
If you want to avoid burning your beets as much as you can but you also need to make sure that you take enough moisture out of the beets so that you can skin them without dyeing your whole kitchen red, you might feel at a loss as to what you should do.
In this case, you may need to think of other practical solutions for getting rid of moisture.
This is where some basic science comes into play. If you are looking to roast the beets specifically to remove the moisture from them, then you need to think about what else can naturally remove moisture while also providing a protective coat around the beet so that it won’t burn.
If there is anything that is natural at removing moisture, it will be salt. As many people know, sodium is well known for being able to draw out moisture from just about any substance, whether it is your own body and blood or whether it is the beet juice from the beets.
In this case, you are going to need to stock up on a fair amount of salt. This means that this method may not be the best for people who need to roast a considerable amount of beets at once but for people who are only roasting a few beets, this method can work out pretty well.
You will want to use approximately one pound of salt per pound of beets that you want to roast. If you have two pounds of beets, then you are going to want to use about two pounds of salt. In many cases, you should try to use kosher salt as this will help draw out the moisture a little bit more.
Once you have the salt, you will then want to find some eggs. More specifically, you will be using egg whites only for this mixture.
Generally, you can get away with using one or two egg whites but you can always add more egg whites as you need to the recipe. You should keep adding egg whites until the solution is wet and solid enough to form around the beets as a protective cover.
Now that you have your salty solution ready, you can begin washing and drying the beets themselves. Remember not to scrub too hard at the skin and dirt on the beets as the skin is the protective covering and breaking it will cause the staining juices to leak.
Any tiny remains of dirt on the beet will burn and cook away when you are roasting it in the oven.
After the beets have been washed, scrubbed, and dried off of any excess water or dirt, you can begin coating them in the salty egg white mixture. The beets should be completely covered as the salt and egg whites will work as a protective covering and any part left uncovered has the potential to burn in the oven.
Once they are coated, you should place them in the oven for approximately an hour at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. This would be just over 218 degrees Celsius.
Depending on the overall strength of your oven, this should take about an hour but you should also watch the beets and the salt to make sure that they do not overcook (or undercook). When you remove the salted beets from the oven, the exterior of the salt should be brown all over and it should be even in color.
From here, you just let the beets and salt rest until they are cool enough to handle with your bare hands. Then you can have a little bit of fun by cracking the salty shell open and retrieving the roasted beet inside of it.
If all went well, the beet will be evenly roasted and the salt will have absorbed enough of the beet’s juices so that you can go about peeling the beets without needing to worry about getting your kitchen stained. There may still be some residual juice from the beets but if there is, it will not be nearly as much as there would be if you hadn’t roasted the beets.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.