What do beets look like? Are they really red? In this article, we talk about the types of beets available in the market. We also find out if purple beets exist, or it’s another word for red beets.
As a food and health enthusiast, I find that people tend to get a bit too technical with some straightforward things. I do manage to see people asking if beets are indeed red or they are purple beets and should be called as such. I cannot deny that there is a purplish hue to the beet, but overall, it is a dark deep red, and not purple. However, that’s not the only type of beet in the market. Here, we explore what a beet looks like, the uses, how to handle them and lastly how to store them.
What do beets look like?
At the groceries, beets are those round and hard red-purplish vegetables. Depending on where you buy them, they come with a green leafy stalk reminiscent of spinach called beet greens that is also edible. That’s the part that grows above the ground while the beet, being a tap root, grows underneath the soil. You will notice a thin root extending from the beet on the other end. Other varieties will look like turnips or carrots, but not have the exact features.
Beets have a lot of names: red beet, golden beet, garden beet, sugar beet, table beet, and purple beet. Other beets you can find the market include sugar beets, baby beets, Mangel-wurzel beets, ‘Cylindra’ beets, striped beets, and baby beets. In North America, they are cultivated as Beta vulgaris which offer an edible taproot and leaves.With the variety mentioned, and even from the names, one can establish that not all beetroots are red, or purple for that matter.
Other colors include yellow while some are white and pink in alternating rings that is only visible once sliced. These are known as the Chioggia beets or candy cane beets. What makes them different is they mature earlier than other beets and also have a mild flavor. If you are going to prepare them, you should put in less time; otherwise, you will diminish the character entirely.
Uses of beets
While we’ve established how beets look, we can move on to the taste. The predominant answer that one gets when they ask how beets taste like, the answer is “like dirt.” That is typical of people who are not used to taking beets. The variety also dictates the taste. However, as you get used to it, you will pick up on the sweet notes and quite frankly tastes like nature encapsulate in a vegetable. Beets also are a medicinal plant given their several health benefits; it has earned the title of superfood.
How to handle beets
There are whole segments in cookbooks, websites, and channels dedicated to all the ways you can make and enjoy beets. Given that beets tend to stain everything, people have come up with neat ways to handle them. The first is putting oil on your hands before pealing. Gloves are however the easiest way. You should also use a board that you don’t mind staining.
Another trick people use is roasting beets. It takes almost no time to peal as the outer layer is tender. With a bit of tagging, all the skin comes off. You also get less color on your hands when the beets are cooked. Some people wish to store their beets longer for when they are offseason and pickling is one way to do it.
If you purchase the beets with the leaves, you should cut them off, leaving about an inch of the stalks on the beets. That way nutrient from the beets doesn’t flow to feed the greens, causing it to whither faster. You can store them separately in plastic bags, removing as much air as you can. Depending on the storage conditions or the freshness the beets can last in the fridge for about a week to four weeks.
Purple beets or red beets all have the same goodness they bring to the table. They are nutritious and provide us with a variety of ways to enjoy them. There are myriad of recipes that you can use. You can have them in salads, coleslaw, beet juice, ice lollypops among other things. With proper handling and storage, you can continue having them well into the winter. Therefore, the name or variety doesn’t matter much; it is what it does to your body that does.
People also ask
What is the best way to store beets?
Do not clean the beets until you are ready to use them. Washing them will cause withering.
What is the best way to purchase beets?
When you can, purchase beets with the greens still attached. Select ones whose leaves are free of spoilage as it is a sign of how fresh the beet is. They also last longer when refrigerated.
How do you get beet juice off your fingers?
If you get beets juice on your hands, you can use lemon juice to remove it and follow up with salt to remove what’s left. Rinse after.
What are other uses of beetroot?
Beetroots come in handy when making natural food coloring; if you have bitten into a red velvet cake and tasted an earthy flavor, you just might have bitten into that beet goodness.