The important thing about cooking beets is to leave both the root and a few inches of the stem end on before boiling. If the root is removed or the stem end cut away, the beets will “bleed” and lose color.
12 medium-sized beets
Water to cover
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1teaspoon or more sugar
Cut off the top from each beet but leave about two inches of each stem. Do not peel and do not trim off the root end. Rinse the beets in cold water and place them in a large saucepan. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes-the cooking time will depend on the age and size of the beets.
Drain the beets. If they are to be served hot, they may be cooled briefly under cold water, just to make them cool enough to handle. Using a paring knife and the fingers, pull or slip off the outside skin. It should slip off easily. Trim off the root and stem ends. Slice the beets back into the saucepan and add the salt, pepper, sugar, and butter. Cover. Return to the heat and toss the beets around to coat them with butter. Serve immediately. If the beets are to be served cold in a salad, refrigerate them without peeling or trimming.