Beets are packed with nutrients and heart-healthy antioxidants, making them a great addition to any diet. Aside from being totally delicious and beautiful on a plate, beets are low in calories and really good for you. They lower blood pressure, boost stamina, fight inflammation, are rich in fiber, support detoxification, contain anti-cancer causing properties, and so much more.
There are any number of delicious ways to prepare and serve beets for every day eating—vegetable side dish, soup, pickles, relish, salad, cake, hummus. . . . . Beets also are easy to preserve by freezing, pickling, canning, or drying when one has an abundance of these root vegetables. Michigan State University Extension and Penn State Extension have excellent information on selecting, storing, and preserving beets. Tested recipes for beets can also be found at the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
For a shorter preservation time, you might want to give beet chips a try. Beet chips are a tasty and healthy alternative to potato chips and other junk food. They store well and are a good way to deal with the munchies when those evil urges strike. They are easy to make in the oven or air fryer, have no “bad” fats, no preservatives, and you control the salt and seasoning. Any color of beet may be used. Beet chips are made from finely sliced beets, tossed in oil (olive, avocado, or coconut) and optional salt and seasoning, and then roasted in the oven or air fryer. Beet chips store well for at least 2 weeks in an airtight container—that is if they last that long! They can be made in any quantity desired.
Begin by washing beets thoroughly under cool running water. Remove the tops to within 2-inches of the beet. Trim off the tail. Peeling is optional.
Oven Baked Beet Chips
Beet chips can simply be made by slicing the beets very thin (1/16-in) using a mandolin if possible, tossing with a small amount of oil, seasoning as desired, arranging in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and baking in the oven until dry and crisp. This recipe from University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources would be one example of how to make beet chips by this method.
Another way to make oven baked beet chips is to sweat (rest beets in salt and oil for a short time) the beets prior to baking. This is the method I like best. A brief sweating allows the beets to release some of their moisture before baking which makes all the difference in size, color, and texture of the beet chips. After draining the beets, I also lightly pat the beets with a paper two to remove excess moisture before placing on the parchment-lined baking sheet to shorten the drying time. Carnegie Mellon University provides this recipe. This recipe is easily made with a smaller quantity of beets as well.
Air Fryer Method
Prepare the beets as for oven baking. Set the air fryer to 330°. Arrange the slices in a single layer and air fry 15 – 20 minutes until crispy. Time will vary depending on the thickness of the chips, air fryer, and moisture in the beets.
Give beets a try in whatever way you enjoy them. Beet chips are a great lunchtime side and snack option.