Harvest of the Month: Beets

Among the foods dubbed “superfoods” in recent years, some people would consider the beet to be something like a super hero. It contains many of the things we should consume every day, including vitamins C and B6, folate, manganese and copper, as well as fiber and potassium. That’s why health-conscious diners makes salads and shakes out of beets, and why athletes have taken to drinking beet juice before and after workouts.

While the “super food” label is relatively new, the status might not be. Ancient cultures grew beets for a variety of purposes, finding them to be tasty to eat, medicinally useful and even good as an aphrodisiac. While the beet used to be prized more for its green stalks and leaves, modern cultures pay more attention to the red root.

In the grocery store, look for beets that are smaller and firm, with a deep maroon color. Select ones with the taproot still intact, but bypass any larger beets that have “hairy” taproots. Those will likely be tougher and less sweet.

Avoid the temptation to wash beets before storing them, but do trim off the greens about two inches above the root. Don’t store beets in plastic bags, but put them loose into your refrigerator’s crisper drawer (or, if you like, loosely wrapped in paper towels). They’ll store there nicely for two to three weeks.

Try Beets in this Beet-Berry Salad recipe.

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