Monday, 1 December 2008 | Tags:

Dark purple-red root vegetables, beets have been used through the ages to treat various conditions. The star of Russian borscht recipes, beets, with their rough, brownish outer skin, are also popular for their sweet taste, and can be a buttery delight when cooked just right.

The Basics

  • Beets are high in sugar content. When cooked, they create a sweet flavor.

  • The colour of the beet indicates sweetness. White beets contain the least amount of sugar and red-purple beets have the greatest amount.

  • Beets should feel firm, smooth and round, with a slender taproot at the bottom.

  • Look for beets that are a rich, deep red-purple color.

  • Avoid beets that:

    • are dry or cracked, which means they’re old.

    • have round, scaly areas near the top, which means they’re going to be tough and fibrous, and have a strong flavour.

    • are wilted and flabby, which means they’ve been exposed to the air too long.

Preparation Tips

  • To retain the nutrients and color, don’t peel the beets until after they are cooked.

  • You can also add an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice or vinegar to the water, which helps hold in the nutrients and enhances the colour.

  • Fresh beets don’t freeze well. Cook them first, then freeze them.

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