Winter Produce Guide: Beets
Tips for buying, storing, and cooking beets, plus our favorite beet recipes.
This earthy, sweet root vegetable comes in red, pink, orange, yellow, and white varieties, as well as a range of sizes. Both the bulbous root and leafy stalk are edible, making it a versatile ingredient in dishes both raw and cooked. We like to keep roasted beets on hand for soups, purées, and wraps—just rinse each bulb, wrap individually in aluminum foil, and roast in a hot oven for an hour. The common garden beet’s vibrant fuchsia hue will color anything it’s cooked with—try pickling beets with hard-boiled eggs for a beautiful snack.
HOW TO BUY
Select beets that are firm, smooth, and blemish-free. If you’re roasting them whole, choose beets that are all of a similar size. We like to buy beets with the leaves still attached; the greens are delicious sautéed or in salads, and they’re also a good indicator of how long the beets have been in storage—look for bright green, perky leaves with no browning or wilting.
HOW TO STORE
Cut the bulbous roots from the stalk before storing; place the leaves and stalks in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper. The beet roots can be stored loose, also in the crisper. Do not wash either until you are ready to use them.
HOW TO PREPARE
When working with beets you may want to wear gloves, as the color will stain your hands. If a recipe calls for cooked beets, we prefer roasting them to concentrate their flavor. Leave the skin on; it prevents the juices from bleeding out, and they slip right off after cooking. To remove grit from leaves, agitate them in a bowl of cold water, remove leaves, and repeat with fresh water if needed. Spin until thoroughly dried, or pat dry.