Beets (Beta vulgaris)
Wild beets have existed since prehistoric times. The first cultivated beets were apparently tended only for their leaves, which were eaten like spinach. It wasn't until the early Christian era that their yellow, red, and white roots became appreciated.
A much under-appreciated vegetable, beets are beginning to make a much deserved comeback. Beet greens are a source of riboflavin, iron, and vitamins A and C. Beet roots are high in folacin and vitamin C.
- Beet greens are best used fresh, as their integrity will diminish rapidly, as with other fresh greens.
- Store greens wrapped in a damp cloth or in a plastic bag in a drawer in the refrigerator.
- To maintain firmness of beet roots, cut off leaves and stems 1-2 inches above the root crown. Store in a plastic bag and refrigerate n the hydrator drawer. Beet roots will retain their integrity for three months or longer if stored under optimum conditions.