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Beets

Apr 03, 2017


Fun fact: beets are not just for eating... Their juice was used as a cosmetic for women in the early 19th century, forming the phrase "red as a beet."

Availability & Origin
You can have them any time of the year, but you'll get the best flavor between June and October. Italy, Great Britain, Canada, Chile, and Russia are all big beet producers. In the United States, you'll find them growing mostly in the northwest, plus Arizona and California. 

Appearance & Flavor
Some beet varieties include the classic red, gold, baby red, baby gold, and Chioggia, otherwise known as candy cane. When picking out beets, look for a smooth, firm bulb. Small and medium bulbs tend to be more tender. They should have fresh, crisp, green stems, which by the way, are also edible. Beets are known to taste similar to a mix of carrot and wild mushrooms.

Storage
Remove all but one inch of the steams from your beets and place them in a plastic bag and into the crisper drawer, and they will last up to two and a half weeks. The stems in a plastic bag will last up to two days. Baby beet varieties can be steamed whole with their stems intact. They can be stored in the fridge whole, though they expire quickly, so try to consume them within a day.

Ways to Enjoy
Try this unique, savory tart recipe if you're hoping to "wow" guests at your next gathering. Looking for an easier way to eat your beets? Try them raw, peeled, grated, steamed, baked, or boiled. 

History
It is said that the Greeks consumed beetroot leaves as early as 300 B.C. We have 19th century European colonists to thank for the introduction of beets in the U.S. People used the juice as a natural sugar. Later that same century, California was the first state to start production and that was the beginning of advising people in the U.S. to eat the bulbs, not just the juice.

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