Halloween Special: Beets

Anytime I mention ''beets,'' people recoil in horror and tell me how much they hate canned beets. I agree with them, canned beets taste terrible. Not only that, they are not fresh, and probably contain sugar and preservatives, not to mention BPA from the can in which they are found.
But I am talking about real beets. The ones that you choose from a bin, check to make sure that they are nice and firm, and scrape off the excess dirt before you put them in your shopping bag. If you are lucky enough to find them freshly picked, you can also eat their leaves as you would eat collards, mustard or turnip greens: brazilian style of course, finely chopped and sautéed with garlic/olive oil, or bacon (see How to Cook Greens).
Now that you have dared to buy your first beets, lets get bloody. Lightly wash them in order to get the excess dirt off, and put them in a pot with enough filtered water to cover them. Bring to a boil, then bring the fire down to low and simmer for about 1 hour (add water if needed to keep beets covered), or until you can stick a regular knife through them. If the knife does not easily go through the beet, it means it is not ready. If you have a pressure cooker, your beets will be ready in about 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure not to cook them too long (too soft); if they are overcooked they lose their flavor. 
Once they are cooked, bring them under running water, or a bowl of cold water, and pass your fingers on their skin. The skin will come out off quickly and easily. If you have cooked them and don't have time to ''deal'' with them, stick them in the fridge (discard the cooking water first!) until you are ready to peal and cut them. These guys on the left sat in the fridge for 24 hours before I had time to prepare them. 
This is how they look once they are cooked and peeled. 

Cut off the ends, cut the beets in half, then cut them into 1/4 slices (half-moon slices). Why cut them in halves first? So that they don't roll around, and you end up cutting yourself instead. 
Now that they are cut, and your hands have a nice red tint to them, put them in a bowl. Add olive oil, salt, and if you wish, chopped parsley. They are ready to eat! If you are preparing them right after cooking them, make sure to let them get cold before you eat them, as they do not taste good at all when warm.

This is how they look when mixed with olive oil, sea salt and chopped parsley. 
If you are trying to figure out what on earth you can serve with ''beets'', you guessed it: rice and beans.
They complement rice and beans beautifully well. They make an incredibly cheap meal, which is also filling, and nourishing to your body. 

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