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Today I am starting a new weekly series called Fresh Pick Friday where I will feature a local and in-season whole food. It could be a fruit, a vegetable, some local seafood, or even a nut (yes, we grow nuts here). Follow along and you will learn what foods are in season in BC throughout the year, new ideas for meals and snacks, and maybe a nutrition tidbit or two. Don’t forget to add the Fresh Pick to your grocery list!
This week’s Fresh Pick is the mighty beet. Beets are a good source of fibre and potassium and their leafy greens, which are edible, are a great source of Vitamin A.
We are right in the middle of beet season in BC. They are available fresh from June through December. Since they are a root vegetable beets can be stored long-term, so you can still find them in some stores at other times of the year. There are several varieties of beets, including red, golden and candy cane, which are white and red striped inside like the name suggests.
You will definitely have no trouble finding beets right now at your local farmer’s market. You may even be receiving some through your CSA box, if you receive one. Independent grocers and bigger chains also carry beets this time of year, although there is no guarantee that the beets are from, so be sure to check the sign or ask the produce manager. Look for beets that are firm and have the green tops still attached. Just note that you won’t find beets with the greens off-season.
How to Store Beets
To lengthen the shelf-life of beets at home, cut the tops off before storing in the crisper. Otherwise, the greens will draw nutrients and energy stores from the beetroot, making them soft. Brush off any dirt before storing, but don’t wash them until just before using as moisture speeds up spoilage. It’s best to use the beet tops as soon as possible.
What to Make with Beets
Beets can be eaten raw, roasted or steamed. Grate them raw and add to a salad or wrap, or cook them to enhance their sweetness. Cooked beets can still be sliced and used in salads, in soups, or as a stand alone.
Don’t Forget the Greens!
Beet greens are similar to chard in their texture and flavour. In fact, chard and beets come from the same family. Thus, you can use them any way that you would use chard. They are great sautéed with garlic and chili, chopped up in a frittata or omelet, and make a great pesto. Try them in my turnip hash recipe in place of the chard.
What’s your favorite thing to make with beets?