Harvard Beets ♥ | A Veggie Venture: Harvard Beets ♥

Harvard Beets ♥

Today's classic vegetable recipe: Harvard Beets, perhaps the most traditional beet recipe with long lore. It's simple and delicious, just cooked beets warmed through in an orange sauce.

Harvard BeetsFor ages now, I've been meaning to make Harvard Beets. When A Veggie Venture first launched in April 2005 and I was looking for ideas, my Auntie Meryl suggested them. And back in June, a commenter on Swedish Beets reminded me. Thank you both, they're delicious!

Harvard Beets are a simple, classic treatment for already-cooked beets, apparently first published in the Fannie Farmer cookbook. That said, I haven't yet tried her classic treatment, which calls for using the water in which the beets are cooked to make the sauce. That, I shall yet try.

But Harvard Beets are also good enough reason TO cook some beets. How do you cook beets? Well, you can cook beets in water. Or you can roast beets. Or you can grate beets for pan-fried patties. Or ... I could go on and on but just check here for lots of beet recipes. I may be the veggie evangelist but am also a certified Beet Queen. ;-)


Hands-on time: maybe 15 minutes (assumes beets are already cooked)
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 8 in small servings, 4 in larger servings

(enough for 6 cups beets so you might consider doing half)
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional, see KITCHEN NOTES)

3 cups cooked beets, peeled and diced (from 3 medium- to large-size beets)
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional garnish: orange zest, chopped chive, chopped dill

In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. (Be sure to work out any cornstarch lumps.) Slowly stir in the orange juice and vinegar, working out any lumps that appear. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in butter if using. Toss with diced beets. Season to taste. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish. Serve at room temperature.

I accidentally left out the specified butter but didn't miss it. Happy accident!
The beets are rich and full of sweetness and flavor. A small serving feels like plenty so I'm providing nutrition information for both small and large servings.
All this is a good lesson in the usefulness of a nutrition analysis program. (I use a program called Accuchef). I omitted the butter, of course. But even afterward, by adjusting portion size and sauce quantity, the point range varies from zero to two points.
Next time, I'll garnish with grated orange peel or bits of chopped chive or dill.

~ Swedish Beets ~
~ Greens 'n' All Beet Soup ~
~ Baked Beets ~

~ more beet recipes ~

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006


I bookmarked a recipe for Harvard Beets just few weeks ago, when I came across it in a small Penguin cookbook from 1970s. Now that the recipe has been endorsed by Beet Queen, too, I must try it soon.
Pille, the Beet Princess;)

I love these--but I haven't had them in ages. Thanks for refreshing my memory about them.

Duh -- I always thought Harvard beets were a variety of beets, not a recipe for beets! Now I know. My husband adores beets, and my favorite way to make them for him is to roast them with orange juice, black pepper, and a tiny bit of honey.

I love Harvard Beets, too. We used to make them at the nursing home all the time. I haven't made them in ages - guess it's time to do some again! Thanks for the suggestion.

Oh how I love beets....I like the use of orange juice.

Hello all ~ thanks for stopping by! I'm slow to respond, thanks to the Big St. Louis Ice Storm which has left me, currently, nearly four days without power (for the second time this year, I might add, thank you, Kirkwood power people). It could be worse: there's hot water, there's a gas stove/oven (I've been thought about baking cookies!). It's not all bad, retreating from the modern world for a few days. Still ... it's nerve-wracking, literally watching the neighbors' power come on (after 18 hours) and then waiting ... and waiting and ... STILL waiting ... to have it happen at my place, too.

Beet Princess ~ I so often see beet inspiration at Nami Nami, would you like to share the crown? Or better yet, I dub thee Beet Queen.

Sher ~ They're old-fashioned, yes, but a keeper.

Sally ~ "Nursing home food", I hope that's a recommendation!

Peabody ~ The orange, yes, it pairs beautifully with beets.

Alanna - Sorry, I grew up in a nursing home (LOL) as well as cooked there too. Long story... anyway, I'd forgotten about Harvard Beets. I used to love it when we had them. Think I'll try making them again.

My parents always served us harvard beets alongside our boxed mac & cheese- we loved to mix the beets with the noodles to make pink macaroni.

Anonymous ~ Pink noodles, I love it! Thanks for sharing the memory!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna