Have you taken more notice of beets lately? I’ve been seeing them in more products and on more menus. A quick check on the website Menu Pages Boston shows more than 200 area restaurants with beet offerings. I recently wrote one of my Fresh & Local newspaper articles on the topic. I'll share some of what I learned while researching that article, here, over the next couple of weeks.
The local handcrafted pasta team from Nella Pasta won a Sofi Award from the Specialty Food Association for the roasted beet, goat cheese, and tarragon ravioli seen above. And, on a national brand level, you’ll find them showing up in snacks from companies like Terra Chips.
Don’t leave those lovely beet tops behind at the market. In a real turnaround, it was only the leaves that were eaten when beets were first domesticated in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East.
At the Markets
Umass Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment writes, “Beets are a cool season crop which can tolerate frosts and light freezes. They are raised both for greens and roots. The best quality is obtained when beets are grown under conditions of good sunlight and cool temperatures (50°F to 65°F).”
Commonly seen in markets are the well known red beets. But local farms are finding new fans with other varieties of this root.
Candy Cane or Chioggia is an Italian heirloom variety. These can be served raw or cooked and have a dash of pepper in their flavor profile. Chioggia beets not only add a dash of style to your dish, but they are also sweeter. And, if you find the baby version, they are quicker to prepare.
Yellow or golden beets not only add an additional color to your meal, but also don’t bleed their color like red family members. These have a milder taste and thin skin that doesn’t require peeling.
What's on your Food Lover's shopping list?
Words: Penny Cherubino
Photos: Farmstand ©2015 Penny Cherubino, Ravioli courtesy of Nella Pasta.