In Season Now: Beets

What better way to add vibrant color to your table than with earthy, sweet flavored beets! Ranging in color from candy cane stripes to the more common golden-yellow and deep-red varieties, this seasonal root vegetable is loaded with essential nutrients like folate, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, copper, magnesium and iron.

All parts of the beet are edible, including its green leafy stalk, making it a versatile veggie enjoyed raw or cooked. Mature beets are slightly bitter flavored when raw, yet turn candy-like when steamed, roasted or grilled. They’re even great for pickling and baking, acting as a natural dye in cakes, cupcakes and more (we’re looking at you pickled deviled eggs!). So forget those canned jellied and sad-looking salad bar beets of the past, and read on for delicious beet recipes, plus our guide for buying, storing and preparing them.

HOW TO BUY
Select small to medium beets with firm, smooth skin free of soft spots and blemishes. Go for those with stems and leaves still attached; the greens indicate the freshness of the beets and taste great in salads or sautéed. Leaves should be bright green and fresh-looking, so avoid any with wilting or browning leaves. If the greens have been trimmed, opt for beets with a couple inches of stem still attached.

HOW TO STORE
Remove the greens before storing, leaving one to two inches of stem attached to help prevent loss of nutrients and color during cooking. Store unwashed beets and greens in produce bags in the refrigerator’s crisper. Beets will keep for up to three weeks but use the greens within a few days.

HOW TO PREPARE
When working with beets, you may want to wear gloves and work on a surface lined with waxed paper, as the color will stain your hands and countertop. Roasting beets intensifies their flavor and is the preferred method for recipes that call for cooked beets. Leave the skin on to prevent the juices from bleeding out (it easily slips off after cooking) and wrap them in aluminum foil for easy cleanup. If boiling, leave 1 inch of stem intact to prevent the juices from bleeding into the cooking water. For the greens, agitate them in a bowl of cold water to remove any grit; drain and add fresh water, repeating until there are no sediments in the bottom of the bowl. To dry, use a lettuce spinner or pat leaves with paper towels.

Find inspiration for cooking and enjoying this seasonal produce with beet recipes from around the web:

Do you love beets as much as we do? Share your favorite beet recipes with us in the comments below!


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