Known for their deep red color and sweet, earthy flavor, beets can brighten up any dish! From golden to chioggia to cylindrical beets, each variety has its own unique color, shape, and flavor to appreciate and enjoy.
Flavor profile: Beets have a sweet, earthy flavor that is often more mild in golden and chioggia beets, deeper in red beets, and extremely sweet when it comes to sugar beets. Beet greens are also super delicious, somewhere between spinach and chard, cooking down to a similar rich flavor and creamy texture.
Uses: Beets can be used raw in salads and slaws or juiced. They’re often roasted or steamed and either tossed into a soup like Borscht, blended up into a hummus, or chopped up into an incredible hazelnut and chevre beet salad. They can go super savory in hot soups and roasts, and surprisingly fresh in cold beet salads. You can also bake with beets, chocolate beet cake is incredible!
Pairs with: Nuts, chevre, honey, balsamic vinegar, root vegetables, garlic, parsley, mint, etc.
Storage: Bulk beets can be stored like any other root in an airtight container in the fridge to retain their moisture and prevent going wrinkly. To store bunched beets, cut off the roots and store separately from the greens so that the greens don’t continue to pull moisture up and out of the beets.
Other names: Betabel, remolacha, blood turnip
Nutrients: Beets are high in iron and fiber and a variety of other vitamins and minerals including potassium, manganese, folate, and Vitamin B2, as well as antioxidants.
History: The center of origin for beets lies in the Mediterranean and southern Europe where it was cultivated for bigger roots, higher sugar content, and vibrant color. Beets are a member of the Amaranthaceae family together with their cousins spinach, chard, amaranth, and quinoa.
Why it's a great crop: Beets are a great crop in that they are fairly easy to grow almost year round in the Pacific Northwest. While the greens won’t tolerate heavy freezes, beets are generally both fairly cold-hardy and heat-tolerant. And even during the winter months when the greens die back, the roots store just fine in the ground and can be harvested as needed. They are also a multi-purpose crop that can be thinned for beet greens before being harvested for the full beets and the greens a second time.