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What’s in Season Now: Beets

What’s in Season Now: Beets

Beets. You either love them or hate them. If you love them, you can’t get enough. If you hate them, maybe you haven’t had them prepared properly. If you consider yourself a beet-hater, I urge you to give them another chance because you’re missing out on one of nature’s most vibrant and versatile treats.

Give ’em to me red or golden, roasted or raw, I’m a diehard beet-lover. I can’t say whether it’s the gentle sweetness and tender texture combination of a roasted beet nabbed from the still-warm baking tray or the earthy freshness of shredded beets on my salad that captured my heart. What I can say, is that not only will beets prove to be a willing culinary partner, ready for most anything you can think of, but they also will reward you with heaps of health benefits.

Health Benefits

Do you get hot under the collar? Studies show beets can lower blood pressure, and drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points. The benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide relaxes and dilates your blood vessels, improving blood flow and as a result, lowering blood pressure.

Beets can help fight inflammation because they are a source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protect cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It’s also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance, and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases. They are also rich in valuable nutrients and fiber, contain high levels of immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects. Finally, beets support detoxification and help to purify your blood and your liver.

Purchasing and Storing

When possible, buy your beets from your local farm or farmers market to ensure freshness. Buy them with the greens, as opposed to buying just the root. Beet greens can be rinsed, chopped and sauteéd or steamed, just like other fresh greens, and they are loaded with nutrients. The round roots should be firm and smooth, and the greens crisp and brightly colored.

When storing, separate the greens from the roots by twisting gently at the base. Wrap the greens in a clean, slightly damp towel, and don’t wash until ready to use. Greens will last a few days. Beet roots can be stored in a plastic bag and can last for several weeks.


There are several popular varieties of beets:

Red: The standard garden beet, is garnet-colored and has a sweet, tender and earthy flesh. Roast, add raw to smoothies or shred for salad.

Golden: A bit milder than red, with similar texture and flavor, use when you don’t want a powerful red color to permeate the rest of the dish.

Chioggia: Cut this variety open and expose beautiful, circular stripes. Thinly shave these raw for salads as the stripes fade when cooked.

Beets can be wrapped in foil and roasted at 400F for about 45 minutes, depending on size. You can also put these on the grill with the top closed for roughly the same amount of time. Turn while cooking on the grill to avoid burning the bottoms. With just a little more effort, you can peel and cube, toss with olive oil, a good splash of balsamic vinegar and salt, then roast in the oven. Eat as is or crumble Baked Almond Cheese on top. So many ways to enjoy beets and so little time! Try these recipes, too:

Roasted Dijon-Ginger Beets

Scarlet Ginger Soup

Beet Napoleans



Compassionate Cuisine, Seasonal Spotlight