Beets | CUESA

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Beets were first cultivated around the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of Europe, and eventually spread to all parts of the world, but were descended from the sea beet, a wild seashore plant of which only the leaves and stems were eaten. Now, we consume the entire vegetable; the leaves, stems, and the root itself.

Several different of beets are commonly grown: the traditional red beet, the pink chioggia beet, and the yellow golden beet. They are also grown in several different sizes and shapes. When buying beets, it is important to inspect the root for a firm and solid surface. The leaves and stalks should also be hearty and cleaned with cool water before cooking and can be store in the fridge for up to 5 days. If the leaves start to go bad, they can be cut from the root, which will last for weeks in a cool place.

There are many different ways to cook beets; their earthy flavor is nicely offset by vinegar, meaning they are commonly eaten cold in salads with vinaigrettes. Leaving their skin on while cooking will preserve the color. You can test its doneness by sticking a knife through the vegetable, near its cap, which should pierce easily, its skin, should also be easier to peel off when this vegetable is fully cooked.

In Season

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Recipes with Beets

Tangerine-Turmeric Beet Sour

Kathryn Lukas, author of Farmhouse Culture Guide to Fermenting


Lavender-Cured Duck Confit

Reylon Agustin, Madera

Golden Beet Salad with Vanilla Mandarin Dressing and Smoked Trout

Jack Andrews, The Terrace Room

Red Beet Sausages

Giovanni Betteo, Salt Pt. Butchery & Provisions

Articles about Beets

June 04, 2010

Zen Vegetables

A former apprentice at Green Gulch Farms says working on the farm was hard, physical work, and a constant practice in reflection.   “We became intimate with our food by feeding the soil, caring for plants, and the land returned this care and effort to us with beautiful vegetables.”

January 04, 2008

The Multi-hued Market

Why are some fruits and vegetables green, some orange and others red? The answer is in the pigments.

December 14, 2007

Join the Rooting Section

A walk through the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in December dispels any belief that “there are no fresh vegetables during the winter.” Vendor after vendor offers baskets brimming with ruby red beets, husky carrots and plump turnips.


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »