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I've been having a hard time cutting large (almost 10 cm) raw beets. I'd be interested in suggestions, whether it's about the knifes, technique, or vegetable (ie too big/woody?). Usually, I am just looking for 4-5 mm slices to steam. Full rounds would be cool, but OK with 1/4 rounds with something this big.

I have tried a few knives, and they all wedge (if that is the exactly correct term). So far, just using a gyuto, all are gentle convex grinds, and used a push cut. I peeled the beet first, just to take that out of the problem. The thinnest got stuck, leaving me afraid how to proceed, to keep pushing or extract it. Both actions required a lot of force. I forgot what I did in the end. Next (different beet) I tried a slightly thicker one, definitely not a workhorse, and it got stuck, but with more force, I could hear the beet crack. Tried a third beet and knife, and not much difference. Eventually, I got it quartered, but still had to go slow slicing. It feels slow and unsafe. The knifes were very sharp (and reasonably tbe) when I started, and sharp after.

The cooked beets seemed fine after about 60-75 min cooking, perhaps more fiber that younger ones though.
 
I like a mandoline/Benriner for this kind of thing.
 
The first knife I tried was an almost new Tanaka Yohei, which I doubt need thinning. I tried another without the media blasted cladding, but not much better. I've encountered beets before, maybe these are unusually fibrous and/or just large.
 
And the answer is ...


It's the beets; it may or may not have much to do with size I had a several very large ones (9 cm and up) that gave me trouble. Another batch, purchased 2 weeks later, were about 7 cm, and cut like a proverbial knife through butter. I got my Tanaka Yohei out, and it cut very nicely.

I tried my thinnest knife, an old nakiri I don't really use any more, and wasn't impressed, though the bevel is nearly flat.
 

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And the answer is ...


It's the beets; it may or may not have much to do with size I had a several very large ones (9 cm and up) that gave me trouble. Another batch, purchased 2 weeks later, were about 7 cm, and cut like a proverbial knife through butter. I got my Tanaka Yohei out, and it cut very nicely.

No new knife then...☹️
 
Something like a Chinese cleaver CCK or the like should be able to do this well. I haven't tried, but might be worth a try given how cheap these are.
 
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I have no universal answer, but in this case I just put in covered pot with a little water, a little sugar, salt, and butter. Cook until done, and water mostly evaporated.
Cool, so boiled beets! Nice. Save yourself some knife grief and boil them first in salted water, skins on (added flavour); when they are cooked a la potato, chuck them in some cold water to shock the skins, and then peel them with you fingers while they are hot enough to handle but not burn you. Cool in the fridge, or not, slice like butter with your laser. Melt some butter in a pan, add a touch of seasoning add sugar (erm, ok...?) of honey (!!) (and nice balsamic and rosemary) stick 'em in and glaze them without over cooking.
Yums!
Nice with roasted goats cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds.
 
Cool, so boiled beets! Nice. Save yourself some knife grief and boil them first in salted water, skins on (added flavour); when they are cooked a la potato, chuck them in some cold water to shock the skins, and then peel them with you fingers while they are hot enough to handle but not burn you. Cool in the fridge, or not, slice like butter with your laser. Melt some butter in a pan, add a touch of seasoning add sugar (erm, ok...?) of honey (!!) (and nice balsamic and rosemary) stick 'em in and glaze them without over cooking.
Yums!
Nice with roasted goats cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds.
I made pickled beets today and did exactly this. Cook in their skins, shock in cold water, peel, slice, put in jars and add pickling liquor. Should be good in about a week.
 
Cool, so boiled beets! Nice. Save yourself some knife grief and boil them first in salted water, skins on (added flavour); when they are cooked a la potato, chuck them in some cold water to shock the skins, and then peel them with you fingers while they are hot enough to handle but not burn you. Cool in the fridge, or not, slice like butter with your laser. Melt some butter in a pan, add a touch of seasoning add sugar (erm, ok...?) of honey (!!) (and nice balsamic and rosemary) stick 'em in and glaze them without over cooking.
Yums!
Nice with roasted goats cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds.
Will give that a spin. I mostly cut them raw because I wasn't sure how long it would take to cook one that big. A little patience, and more intact fingers;-) The balsamic and rosemary sounds interesting too. Thanks for the ideas!
 
Cool, so boiled beets! Nice. Save yourself some knife grief and boil them first in salted water, skins on (added flavour); when they are cooked a la potato, chuck them in some cold water to shock the skins, and then peel them with you fingers while they are hot enough to handle but not burn you. Cool in the fridge, or not, slice like butter with your laser. Melt some butter in a pan, add a touch of seasoning add sugar (erm, ok...?) of honey (!!) (and nice balsamic and rosemary) stick 'em in and glaze them without over cooking.
Yums!
Nice with roasted goats cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds.
Alternatively, after boiling, put them in a bowl and wrap with plastic wrap. Once cooled, cut off the ends and rub the skin with a towel. The skins fall right off in the towel.
 
Will give that a spin. I mostly cut them raw because I wasn't sure how long it would take to cook one that big. A little patience, and more intact fingers;-) The balsamic and rosemary sounds interesting too. Thanks for the ideas!
Cool. To totally nerd out; boiling them skin on will reduce the surface area, and as beet flavour molecules are soluble in water, more flavour stays in the beet. Also, you will throw less away when you skin cooked beets as opposed to peeling them raw - although you have to peel candy or striped beets, otherwise they have a muddy after taste.
 
I've been having a hard time cutting large (almost 10 cm) raw beets. I'd be interested in suggestions, whether it's about the knifes, technique, or vegetable (ie too big/woody?). Usually, I am just looking for 4-5 mm slices to steam. Full rounds would be cool, but OK with 1/4 rounds with something this big.

I have tried a few knives, and they all wedge (if that is the exactly correct term). So far, just using a gyuto, all are gentle convex grinds, and used a push cut. I peeled the beet first, just to take that out of the problem. The thinnest got stuck, leaving me afraid how to proceed, to keep pushing or extract it. Both actions required a lot of force. I forgot what I did in the end. Next (different beet) I tried a slightly thicker one, definitely not a workhorse, and it got stuck, but with more force, I could hear the beet crack. Tried a third beet and knife, and not much difference. Eventually, I got it quartered, but still had to go slow slicing. It feels slow and unsafe. The knifes were very sharp (and reasonably tbe) when I started, and sharp after.

The cooked beets seemed fine after about 60-75 min cooking, perhaps more fiber that younger ones though.
We always cook our beets in the oven whole, skin on wrapped in foil. When you take them out ready to eat, they’re much softer and easy to cut. Slice them and salt them. They are amazing.
 
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My favourite for beetroot is a small Takeda bunka. And I emphasise on small - 180mm or smaller because they are half the thickness of the bigger Takedas (I have both). I usually enjoy acting like a human mandolin and make thin slices. I haven't tried extra large beets but I'm guessing the bigger Takedas will do if (like mine) it's been thinned.
In general if you know what you're doing a thin (laser) knife is the choice for dense root veg and squashes.
 
Here's the latest of what I found. First, good recipe (and cook with skins on and slice) ideas, thanks all. I just did balsamic, olive oil, and a touch of salt, served at cool/room temp, and that was good.

About the cutting, I got 4 lb from the grocery store just to see what happens if cut raw. There is extreme variability. Whether it's age, size, water content, etc., I cannot say for sure. Some cut with little resistance. Others wedge and make a cracking sound as the vegetable approaches the spine. The blade is plenty TBE, and doesn't wedge until maybe 2/3+ through. Those that wedge are noticeably harder to cut (more fibrous perhaps). In addition those (that wedge) are generally larger, though I had some nearly identical in size that cut nothing like each other.

Bottom line, I am going to boil/steam them whole, unless I have to do otherwise. Thanks again for all the nice tips.
 
Here's the latest of what I found. First, good recipe (and cook with skins on and slice) ideas, thanks all. I just did balsamic, olive oil, and a touch of salt, served at cool/room temp, and that was good.

About the cutting, I got 4 lb from the grocery store just to see what happens if cut raw. There is extreme variability. Whether it's age, size, water content, etc., I cannot say for sure. Some cut with little resistance. Others wedge and make a cracking sound as the vegetable approaches the spine. The blade is plenty TBE, and doesn't wedge until maybe 2/3+ through. Those that wedge are noticeably harder to cut (more fibrous perhaps). In addition those (that wedge) are generally larger, though I had some nearly identical in size that cut nothing like each other.

Bottom line, I am going to boil/steam them whole, unless I have to do otherwise. Thanks again for all the nice tips.

I used to cut my beets raw and noticed the same thing - some are easier to cut. I recall reading that larger beets are tougher, so I’ve been using medium-size beets since then and baking whole with skin on. They are nice roasted when cubed though - it caramelizes and concentrates the flavor like roasted carrots.
 
Here's the latest of what I found. First, good recipe (and cook with skins on and slice) ideas, thanks all. I just did balsamic, olive oil, and a touch of salt, served at cool/room temp, and that was good.

About the cutting, I got 4 lb from the grocery store just to see what happens if cut raw. There is extreme variability. Whether it's age, size, water content, etc., I cannot say for sure. Some cut with little resistance. Others wedge and make a cracking sound as the vegetable approaches the spine. The blade is plenty TBE, and doesn't wedge until maybe 2/3+ through. Those that wedge are noticeably harder to cut (more fibrous perhaps). In addition those (that wedge) are generally larger, though I had some nearly identical in size that cut nothing like each other.

Bottom line, I am going to boil/steam them whole, unless I have to do otherwise. Thanks again for all the nice tips.
Like I mentioned earlier we roast our beets in the oven in foil. I don’t think I mentioned that we leave the skin on. Once you’re done cooking them it’s easy to peel and slice them because they’re soft. You can also use the same method but rub oil on them before putting them in the foil. Anyway, We really love the flavor so we just use salt but balsamic is good too.
 
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