A firm, round-rooted vegetable with nutritious leafy greens. Commonly known as the garden beet. In addition to the garden beet, are the spinach or leaf beet (“Swiss chard”), the sugar beet, and the mangold, which is used mostly for fodder.

Beets

Commonly red, this root vegetable can range in color from white to orange to purple to candy-cane-striped. The green leafy tops are also edible and highly nutritious.

plural: beets

Season: available year-round

How to select: Look for firm, smooth skins, with crisp, bright leaves if attached.

How to store: Remove greens from the beet if attached (because they will continue to leach moisture from the root), leaving 1 inch stem to prevent color and nutrient loss when cooking. Then store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

How to prepare: Wash gently, cook, and then remove the skin. bake, boil, steam or pickle

Matches well with: allspice, apples, bacon, butter, cheese, cloves, cream, cucumber, curry, dill, eggs, fennel, horseradish, lemon, mustard, nutmeg, onions, oranges, parsley, potatoes, smoked fish, sour cream, tarragon, vinaigrette, vinegar, walnuts

Substitutions: sliced beets in cooking = sliced or chopped carrots; beets in a salad = tomatoes

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