Beets not only taste sweet and delectable, they are also incredibly healthful. In fact, this root vegetable was originally used as medicine and didn’t wind up on the dinner table until the French realized its culinary potential in the 1800s. Beets offer folate, fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants.
Look for beets that are smooth, feel firm and don’t have any splits. Small- to- medium- sized beets have the finest flavor. It’s best if you can buy beets with the greens still attached, a sign of freshness. The greens are edible too.
Lop off the tops and store your beets in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They’ll keep for several weeks; they are a root vegetable after all. The green tops are much more perishable, use them in a salad or sauté within a day or two. If the beet greens have wilted or yellowed leaves, they are past their prime.
You should scrub your beets well before cooking them, but don’t bother to peel them. It’s easier to do that after they’ve been cooked. Beets are delicious steamed, baked, boiled or roasted. A simple, but classic combination is beets served with salt, pepper and a little butter. Vinegars and citrus work well with beets because they temper their sweetness. Use a paper towel to rub off the skin. It’ll keep red beets from staining your hands red.