The beet has a long history of cultivation stretching back to the second millennium BC around the Mediterranean and was introduced to China around 850 AD. The ancient Romans considered beets an important health food and an aphrodisiac. A relative of Swiss chard and spinach, the greens can be cooked in much the same way. The consumption of beets causes pink urine in some people, so don't be alarmed as I was one day. Some people have an allergic reaction to eating raw beets, but not with cooked beets. These are not the same beets that you get in a can or a jar. You may not love the beet, but give them a chance and see if they don't surprise you.


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Storage Tips

  • Do not wash beets before storing.

  • Cut the majority of the greens and their stems from the beet roots, so they do not pull away moisture away from the root. Leave about two inches of the stem attached.

  • Place in a plastic bag and wrap the bag tightly around the beets, squeezing out as much of the air from the bag as possible, and place in refrigerator where they will keep for up to 3 weeks.

  • Store the unwashed greens or beet thins in a separate plastic bag squeezing out as much of the air as possible. Place in refrigerator where they will keep fresh for about four days.

  • Raw beets do not freeze well since they tend to become soft upon thawing. Freezing cooked beets is fine; they'll retain their flavor and texture.

Preparation Tips

  • Rinse gently under cold running water, taking care not to tear the skin, which helps keep the health-promoting pigments inside.

  • Since beet juice can stain your skin, wearing kitchen gloves is a good idea when handling beets. If your hands become stained during the cleaning and cooking process, simply rub some lemon juice on them to remove the stain.

  • Steam or Roast until fork tender.

  • Peel beets by setting them on a cutting board and rubbing the skin off with a paper towel. Baby beets have a much more tender skin and do not have to be peeled.

  • Simply grate raw beets for a delicious and colorful addition to salads or decorative garnish for soups.

  • Marinate steamed beets in fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh herbs.

  • Don't forget about borscht and pickling