Red beets are one of my favorite vegetables, but they are also the most often maligned. It seems people either love them or hate them - and both camps are rather passionate. I am surprised at the number of people who don't like them, considering their high sugar content compared to other vegetables. You can even use the greens. The plant is the same genus and species as chard. Varieties were selected over time so that the ones we plant for red beets optimize root formation, while the ones we plant for chard never produce a large root but larger more prolific leaves instead. For more information on how to use chard see the chard page.
To store roots, cut off the greens (if they are still attached) about 1 inch above the root crown. Beets will store a long time in a plastic bag in your refrigerator (up to several months).
- Don't peel your beets before cooking, but make sure they are cleaned with a vegetable brush under water. The skins are edible and, even if you don't want to eat them, they slip right off after they are cooked.
- To boil leave the stem and root on and place in boiling water for about 1 hour until fork pierces them easily. Once cool enough to handle, cut off stem and root and rub off skins.
- To bake, cut off stems but not roots and bake at 350 for 1-2 hours until easily pierced with a fork. When cool enough to handle, rub off skins and cut off root.
- Eat beets cooked with a little butter and salt as a side dish.
- Add cooked chilled beets to a tossed salad.
- Use raw grated beets in a tossed salad.