This section is from the book "Mrs. Rorer's Vegetable Cookery And Meat Substitutes", by Sarah Tyson Rorer. Also available from Amazon: Mrs. Rorer's Vegetable Cookery And Meat Substitutes.......
(Beta vulgaris. Linn.)
Beets contain sugar but no starch, and being the roots of plants are quite dense and woody. They are very indigestible uncooked. When cooked and served simply, they form an appetizing and a good waste food.
Wash young, tender beets thoroughly; remove the tops. Immerse in cold water for half an hour; then put them into boiling unsalted water. Cook until you can easily pierce to the centre with a fork - about one hour. Drain quickly, cover with cold water. Drain again. Slip off the skins and slice the beets into the saucepan. Add a half teaspoonful of salt, a tablespoonful of sugar, a tablespoonful of butter and a dash of pepper. Shake over the fire until smoking hot. Serve in an uncovered dish.
Boil the beets according to the preceding recipe. When done, skin and cut the beets into dice. Put them back into the saucepan with a pint of water. Let them stew fifteen minutes. Add one level tablespoonful of cornstarch moistened in a little cold water. Let this boil a moment; add a half teaspoonful of salt, a saltspoonful of pepper and one tablespoonful of butter. Serve in a heated dish.
Select uniform good-sized new beets. Wash and boil until about half done. Slip off the skins. Cut a slice from the root end, just enough to make them stand. Cut a thick slice from the leaf end, and with a vegetable scoop dig out the centre of the beet, leaving a wall a half inch thick. Stand them in a baking pan, with a little water, in the oven. Have ready for each six beets a pint of nicely seasoned and carefully cooked green peas, or you may use one can of peas. When ready to serve, dish the beets on a platter, fill with the peas, garnish the dish with sprigs of parsley and send to the table.
Plain boiled beets may be cut into slices, put into a jar, covered with vinegar, and used as a garnish. These are exceedingly nice for potato, cabbage, or string bean salad. They are, however, rather indigestible when eaten alone. Old beets may be used for pickling.