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During my first pregnancy, I had an occasional craving for citrus. Grapefruit, oranges, pomelos, lemons, limes, anything. During my second pregnancy, nothing. And during my third pregnancy, I had no cravings, but one aversion: beets.
Other vegetables were okay: I would happily have eaten butternut squash tacos with chipotle and feta or a pound-of-greens frittata. Those risotto-stuffed chard leaves were popular in my kitchen that year, and a simple arugula salad was just my speed (the arugula comes up in the garden by itself on years when I’m neglectful; what could be easier?).
But beets! Woe! I used to love beets! Roasted with walnuts and blue cheese. Grated beet salads with honey-ginger or lemony dressings. Beets steamed with their greens and swathed in oil and vinegar. Goodbye, beets. Even after my baby was born they seemed a little too…sweet, too meaty. Too beet-y. So last year I dutifully piled the beets into my crisper as they arrived from my CSA. I cooked the greens and packed the roots tighter and tighter into the left-hand drawer. Finally, in the dead of winter, I cleaned out the drawer and composted them all. Sorry, beets.
This year I am taking a more reasonable approach. I’m planning to make all my beets into beet chips. They’re crispy and salty and, while they’re still sweet, they’re a world away from the roasted beets that I once loved. They’re a nice change of pace, and they’ll help free up some space in my fridge this summer.Beet chips: Slice peeled beets thinly and uniformly (about 1/16″), using a mandoline if you have one. Toss with olive oil and a few good pinches of salt and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. (Use two baking sheets if you need to, and rotate them top-to-bottom in the oven every 10 minutes as the chips are baking. When Martha makes these, she puts a second baking sheet on top of the beets to keep them completely flat for the first 20 minutes, but I found this unnecessary. A few chips did ruffle up, but most stayed flat.)
Bake at 350 for 20-40 minutes, removing chips as the edges darken. You don’t want them to brown or they’ll taste burnt. Smaller chips will cook more quickly than larger ones, and if you time it right (you’ll learn quickly) they’ll be nice and crisp when they cool.