Everyone is familiar with the round, red root of the beet plant, but you may see other types of beets as well. Golden beets are golden orange in color and Chioggia beets, also called candy cane beets, are striped red and white on the inside. Beets are rich in vitamins C, A, and folate, and are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. The greens are also good to eat and are packed with nutrients, providing vitamins A, C, and K, iron, and calcium.
If you get beets with greens, first cut the greens from the root. The greens will last for 3 -5 days stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. The roots will keep best in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. They will last a month or more.
Beets can be prepared whole or cut into pieces. Whole beets require a longer cooking time but do not need to be peeled ahead of cooking. If you have baby beets, cooking times will be shorter then stated below.
- Roast: To roast the beets whole, wrap each beet in tin foil and roast at 400° until tender, about 40-60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. The skins should slip right off the cooked beets. To roast cut beets, first peel the beets, then cut into wedges, slices, or cubes. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread out on a greased baking pan and roast at 400° until tender, about 25-30 minutes.
- Boil: Place whole beets in a pot of boiling water, lower heat to simmer, cover the pot, and cook until tender, about 45-60 minutes. Let cool slightly, then remove the skins.
- Steam: Peel the beets, then cut into wedges, slices, or cubes. Place in a pot with 1-2” of simmering water (you can use a steamer basket if you have one). Cover and steam until tender, about 15 -20 minutes.
- Microwave: Cut the beets (either whole or peeled and cut into pieces). Place the beets in a microwave-safe dish. Add about 1 inch of water to the dish. Pierce whole beets with a fork. Microwave on high until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the beets and the power of your microwave. Using beets of a similar size will ensure even cooking. Let cool, then rub with a paper towel to remove skins.
- Cook beet greens: first cut or tear the greens. Steam in a steamer basket or in a pot in an inch or so of water. Or, sauté in a small amount of oil.
How to Use Beets and Beet Greens
- Add peeled and grated raw beets to a green salad or a slaw.
- Add cooked beets to potato salad.
- Roast with other vegetables.
- Serve cooked beets as a side dish, seasoned with butter and salt or with vinegar.
- Sauté the greens with onion and garlic and serve over pasta.
- Add the greens to soups and stir-fries.
- Add the greens to an omelet.