Bunching beets (tops left on), for fresh market - Detroit Rubidus, Red Ace and Ruby Queen; topped, for processing - Avenger; for both uses - Big Red, Supra and Pacemaker 3.
One cup (250 mL) of cooked diced beets contains 50 calories. Beets are a good source of folacin and a source of Vitamin C and potassium.
Beets have been cultivated since pre-historic times in the Mediterranean area and were originally grown only for their leaves. During the Roman empire, people began to eat the roots as well. Today, beets and beet dishes are still widely popular throughout Europe.
Buying and storing
Look for firm, small to medium-size beets (up to 3 inches in diameter.) The outside may be rough, but should be dry and taut.
Loosely wrap in paper towel and keep in refrigerator crisper for up to one week. They can also be kept in a root cellar or other cool location.
Scrub under running water to remove any trace of dirt, dry on paper towel.
You can oven-bake beets whole, peeled, cubed or sliced and simmered in rich vegetable soups such as Borscht. Or boil or steam until tender. Pickling is another option.
Cooked beets are tasty in cold salads with vinaigrette, mayonnaise or Greek skorthalia (a purée of mashed potato, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.)
And they can be quickly finished in a hot oven, tossed with pan juices from a roast.