Availability: All year; peak June to October.
Buying Guide: Look for smooth, short-tipped, firm beet roots. Small beets are sweeter. Avoid pale, bruised beets. Buy beets of uniform size to ensure even cooking.
Storage: Separate greens from beet roots. Refrigerate unwashed roots up to 2 weeks and greens in a plastic bag up to 5 days.
History: The Greeks and Romans grew beets for their greens, which are similar in flavor to spinach and may be prepared the same way. Today, most people eat the root, which is also a source of red food coloring.
- To prevent color from bleeding during boiling, cut tops off beets, leaving at least 1 inch of stem; do not trim root ends.
Cut the tops off of the beets,
leaving at least 1 inch of stem.
- Scrub beets under running water with soft vegetable brush, being careful not to break skins.
Scrub the beets under running water.
- Place beets in medium saucepan; cover with water. Cover. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium. Simmer about 20 minutes or until just barely firm when pierced with a fork and skins rub off easily. (Larger beets will take longer.)
- Drain beets and rub off skins with hands under cool running water. Transfer to plate; cool. Rinse pan.
- Cut roots and stems from beets on the plate. Do not cut beets on a cutting board; the juice will stain it.
Cut the beets on a glass or nonporous
surface to avoid staining.
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