Prepare fresh beetroot by scrubbing the outside (rather than peeling it). Trim any foliage, but do not cut into the beet itself as this will cause bleeding when it cooks. Don't trim the beard at the base of the plant, and leave at least 2cm length of stem on the vegetable to stop it from bleeding.
Boil your beets
To boil beetroot, add whole beets to boiling water and cook for about 45 minutes, depending on their size. A skewer should slide through the thickest part easily to indicate it is cooked. Cool for 10 minutes, then peel with a vegetable peeler or, simply split and squeeze the skin with gloved hands, the skin should slip off easily.
Tender boiled beetroot goes beautifully in this warm beetroot and macadamia salad recipe.
Try it roasted
To roast whole beetroot, wrap in foil and roast at 180°C (160°C fan-forced) for about 45 minutes, depending on how large they are. Or chop coarsely, toss in olive oil and fresh thyme leaves and roast at 200°C (180°C fan-forced) for about 30 minutes or until tender.
Try it on this roasted beetroot and feta pizza for a slightly fancy mid-week meal.
Saute the leaves
Beetroot leaves are edible. Many chefs include beetroot leaf recipes in their cookbooks and most recommend eating the more tender young leaves, as the older leaves taste bitter. They can be served raw in salads dressed with balsamic vinegar; partially cooked by being tossed with just-drained hot pasta; or braised with butter or olive oil in a covered frying pan. If you intend to eat the leaves, separate them from the bulbs and store them, wrapped, in the refrigerator for no more than two or three days.
To microwave, peel and chop beetroot and microwave according to the manufacturer's instructions (about 20-30 minutes).