If you've ever seen fresh red beets in the grocery store, you may have wondered how these often dirty looking root vegetables with a tough outer skin become the bright red and glossy beets found in cans. Fortunately, cooking raw beets is a simple task that doesn't require any culinary skill beyond the ability to boil water or handle a pair of kitchen shears. You can also use a common household ingredient to ensure that your cooked beets have a vivid red color.
Trim the green leaves and stems from the top of each red beet with kitchen shears. Leave an inch or so of each stem intact to avoid cutting into the beet's skin.
Rinse the beets thoroughly with running water to remove any dirt.
Place the clean beets in a large stockpot. The beets should not fill more than half of the pot.
Fill the pot with water to completely cover the beets. Use a large measuring cup to fill the pot so you know how much water you added.
Add approximately 1 tbsp. of vinegar to the pot for every 8 cups of water you added. The vinegar will intensify the red color of the beets during the cooking process.
Bring the pot of water and beets to a boil on a stove burner set to high heat.
Cover the pot when the water reaches a rapid boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the beets over low heat for approximately 90 minutes, or until you can pierce the beets with a fork.
Turn off the stove burner and remove the beets from the pot with tongs when they are finished cooking. Let the beets cool in another pot or a bowl until you can handle them without discomfort.
Hold one beet under running water and gently rub the beet to remove the outer layer of skin. Repeat this process with all of the beets.
Serve the beets immediately after removing the skins, either whole or sliced.
If you need to store leftover beets, return them to the pot with the water used to cook them. Store the submerged beets in the refrigerator. Heat the entire pot of water and beets on the stove to reheat the beets.
Wear rubber gloves while you remove the beet skins to avoid staining your hands red.