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Cool borscht starts with beets that you pickle.

COOKING FRESH beets in a pungent pickling mixture counters their natural earthy flavor with a sweet tartness.

Enjoy the beets as pickles, or use them (or canned ones) for a quick borscht, a salad, and a lively relish.

Fresh Pickled Beets

4 small (about 2 1/2-in. diameter) beets, about 1 1/2 pounds total, untrimmed 1 1/2 cups water 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons sugar

Trim tops and roots from beets. Reserve tender leaves for another use or discard. Peel beets. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, combine water, vinegar, and sugar. Bring to a boil. Add beets; cover and simer, turning often, until tender when pierced, 30 to 45 minutes. Cool. (If made ahead, cover and chill up to 3 days.) Serve, or use in following recipes. Makes about 3/4 pound.

Per 3 ounces (drained): 38 cal.; 0.8 g protein; 0.1 g fat; 9 g carbo.; 42 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

To make about 1 1/2 pounds pickled beets (4 cups drained, 5 cups with liquid). Use a 3- to 4-quart pan. Double amounts of beets, water, vinegar, and sugar.

Creamy Beet Borscht

About 1 1/2 pounds fresh pickled beets (recipe precedes), sliced, or 2 cans (16 oz. each) whole or sliced pickled beets About 1 quart unflavored nonfat yogurt 1 cup regular-strength chicken broth Fresh dill sprigs Pepper

Drain beets; reserve 1 1/2 cups juice. Combine beets, juice, 1 quart yogurst, and broth. In a food processor or blender, smoothly puree about 1/3 at a time. Mix together. (If made ahead, cover and chill up to 1 day.)

Serve borscht cool or cold in wide bowls. Garnish with dill. Offer yogurt and pepper to add to taste. Serves 6 to 8.

Per serving: 141 cal.; 7.7 g protein; 0.5 g fat (0.2 g sat.); 27 g carbo.; 392 mg sodium; 2.3 mg chol.

Seeded Beet Salad

1/2 teaspoon each mustard seed and cumin seed About 1 1/2 pounds fresh pickled beets (recipe precedes), or 2 cans (16 oz. each) whole or sliced pickled beets 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon salad oil 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, including tops 2 large (about 1 lb. total) tart green apples Salt

In a 6- to 8-inch frying pan over medium heat, shake mustard and cumin seed often until fragrant, 5 to 6 minutes. Set aside.

Drain beets; save 1/4 cup juice. Thinly slice whole beets. In a bowl, mix mustard and cumin seed, beets, reserved juice, vinegar, oil, pepper, and onions.

Core and dice apples; mix with beets. Add salt to taste. Serve, or cover and chill up to 1 hour. Serves 8.

Per serving: 141 cal.; 1.4 g protein; 2.3 g fat (0.3 g sat.); 31 g carbo.; 343 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Kumquat Beet Relish

About 3/4 pound fresh pickled beets (recipe precedes), or 1 can (16 oz.) whole or sliced pickled beets 6 kumquats (about 1 1/2 oz. total), seeded and thinly sliced 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 1 fresh jalapeno chili, stemmed, seeded, and minced 1 to 3 teaspoons sugar

Drain beets; put 2 tablespoons juice in a bowl. Mince beets; mix with juice, kumquats, vinegar, ginger, and chili; add sugar to taste. Serve, or cover and chill up to 2 days; stir occasionally. Makes about 1 1/2 cups, 6 servings.

Per serving: 55 cal.; 0.7 g protein; 0.1 g fat (0 g sat.); 14 g carbo.; 200 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Lipman, Karyn
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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