Fresh beets from the market are a good deal because you get two different veggies for the cost of one. When you buy beets at the farmer's market, the beet greens should look super fresh, green and perky. At home, you can separate them from the beet root (leave about an inch of stem on each beet.) Then take your greens and put them in water as you would a bouquet of flowers, store in the fridge and make plans to cook them in the next day or so. The beets can go in a plastic bag and they'll store nicely until the latter part of the week or into the next.
When you are ready to cook the beet greens, pull the greens away from the mature red stems and veins. If the veins are thin, they are tender enough to eat so you don't have to be too meticulous about this process. Then plunge all the greens into a big bowl of cold water and swirl around like a washing machine. Lift the greens into a colander to drain. Pour out the water in the bowl and observe the last bit of water as you pour it out. If it is sandy and shows dirt, dump it, rinse and add clean water to the bowl. Repeat the process with the greens. You want that water to pour out clear, meaning there is no sand/dirt/grit left on those leaves. Then they are ready for cooking. Use your beets greens as you would fresh spinach or swiss chard. I think they are milder than chard.
To use the greens today, I made an interesting pasta that I found on a really great blog called Food Blogga. The blog also features some great shots of the beet greens themselves. You'll just have to see for yourself because I didn't think ahead and I have no photos of gorgeous beet greens to offer you. Also interesting to note: if you read Food Blogga's post, she talks about how the farmer chopped off the greens without a word. The farmer I bought these from was ready to behead mine too but, thankfully, asked first if I wanted the greens. And I said the same thing, "They're the best part." It is sad to think that oftentimes these greens go right into the trash when they are full of nutrients and taste so good. Though I think the farmers I bought these from would have saved them to eat for themselves because the beets were from Henry's Farm, a organic, communal farm that takes pride in not wasting things.
So back to the recipe: it is Creamy Goat Cheese and Beet Green Pasta, a simple mix of pasta, half and half, goat cheese, beet greens and pistachios that comes off complex and sophisticated. I didn't have pistachios (I wish I did; they would be awesome here.) I used pine nuts instead. They also have a buttery, rich quality and add a crunchy texture. Also, my pasta of choice here was papardelle. I think the recipe calls for fettucine. Both are flat, egg based pastas and both are an ideal match for the sauce. Dear husband loved this dish. It is really good and simple to prepare. If you see some beets with healthy greens attached, scoop them up and make this pasta. Or if you just want to sample the veg in its purist state, scroll down to consider this preparation from Henry's Farm.
As for the other half of those beets, stay tuned ;)