The beetroot has a lot of nicknames: beets, garden beets, red beets, golden beets, or, in more scientific terms, beta vulgaris. Beets are a root vegetable available year-round in many climates, but most abundant during the summer and fall months. Beets come in a variety of colors and can be eaten raw, juiced, roasted, boiled, pickled, sautéed or steamed.
Although often overlooked, the greens of the beet can also be cooked and eaten. The greens contain more vitamin A, potassium, iron and calcium than the root and usually come attached when purchased at farmers markets and most grocery stores. The taste is similar to spinach.
When selecting beets, look for those less than three inches in diameter. Beets larger than this can be fibrous or woody in texture. Firm and fresh roots are ideal; avoid buying any that appear to be dry. According to our Test Kitchen experts, “you can achieve maximum storage time and maintain the beet’s moisture by trimming the greens, leaving at least 1-2 inches of stem. Store the unwashed beets in plastic bags in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Cut a small hole in the bag to prevent condensation build up which can cause spoilage. Stored properly, beets can last up to three weeks. To store the greens (don’t throw them out!), put them in a separate bag and they will last about four days.”
We love beets served on salads with goat cheese just as much as we love them plain, roasted with garlic and salt. We encourage you to get creative and try out a few different preparations so you can find what you like the best.