5 things you didn’t know about beets

Do you prefer to boil or roast? Do you save the greens? Read our kitchen apprentice’s tips for working with this healthy vegetable.

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Roasted beets. (Photo, John Cullen.)

Roasted beets and their greens. (Photo, John Cullen.)

For years, the only way I had ever eaten beets was in borscht. It wasn’t my favourite (I was partial to chicken noodle) and this meant that I kind of stayed away from beets for a little while, which was a big mistake! While I do love borscht now, I’ve also discovered that I love roasted beets tossed with a little olive oil and crumbled feta. This may have a little something to do with my Greek heritage, but it is so good.

Through lots of recipe testing (and the best part, tasting), and chatter in the kitchen, I’ve learned everything there is to know about shopping for, prepping and cooking beets. Here are five, not-so-obvious tips that I’ve learned about beets.

1. There are many different varieties of beets; often you’ll see golden beets or red beets. They have the same flavour and can be used interchangeably in recipes.

2. If you find beets with their greens attached, buy them! It’s like getting two vegetables for the price of one.

3. If you do buy a bundle with the greens attached, be sure to cut these off before storing as they draw moisture away from the beet.

4. Whatever you do, save the beet greens! They are similar to swiss chard. For a simple side dish, give them a rough chop and sauté in some olive oil with lots of garlic.

5. Depending on the size of your beets, they can take anywhere from 25 – 45 minutes to boil. To cut down on cooking time, peel and chop your beets first.

Are you feeling ready to tackle beets in your kitchen? Be sure to try some of our beet recipes – I’m partial to the Beet-zza (it has that olive oil and crumbled feta thing that I love).

Got any tips for cooking beets? I’d love to hear in the comments below!