I confess to being a latent beet lover. I think was traumatized by a childhood experience as well as an unnatural fear of being stigmatized by eating “old” people food. I really had only ever seen them out of a jar usually in a salad bar. Never had I seen them raw or with green tops. Apparently, that is still the case for most people living in the U.S. where most beets consumed are from a can and even when sold raw they are often sold without their tops. Only recently did I discover a love for beets and then a greater love for their green tops.
Now, I am mad about beets. I love them and look for ways to incorporate them into salads, soups, and entrees.
How To Buy Beets
Beets are root vegetables that contain high amounts of fiber and nutrient compounds that fight cancer, high blood pressure, and a host of health issues. Beets are a rich source of boron, which is good for bones and apparently may be an aphrodisiac too. And beets, even without their greens (but, please eat the greens they are so good) are one of the healthiest vegetables. People who eat beets on a regular basis have a lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and more. Robinson also mentions that the nitrates in beets have been shown to enhance athletic performance, a glass of beet juice with Wheaties might be the true breakfast of champions.
Beets are best known in their cultivated form as beetroot or garden beets. Other cultivated varieties include their leafy cousins' chard and beet spinach. Beets are found in produce markets all year round. Baby beets are found in produce markets and farmer’s markets in late May and early June. Baby beets are small (golf ball size or smaller) and are very sweet and tender. Larger beets are harvested throughout the summer and fall. These late-season beets are perfect winter vegetables. They are versatile and delicious.
Beets are found in several varieties. The most familiar is the dark red beet most commonly found in markets. There are also yellow or golden beets that have a gorgeous bright yellow color. Less common is the candy stripe or Chioggia beet. The candy stripe beets range from pale to intense bright pink with white stripes that give it a candy cane appearance. These dazzling beets are most easily found in farmer’s markets. All the varieties of beets have the same flavor which if you are unfamiliar with beets is a slightly peppery-earthy flavor that becomes sweet with roasting.
How To Store Beets
Beets are best stored in the refrigerator and will keep for several weeks.
How To Cook Beets
My favorite way to cook beets is to roast them. Roasting beets brings out the natural sweetness and makes them tender. Once roasted, I add the beets to salads, grain and rice dishes, soups, and sautéed vegetable side dishes.
Here I have curated my favorite ways to enjoy beets. Please join me in the new Beet Generation!!