Food facts - Beets

Beet Nutrition, Selection, Storage & Availability Beet tops are an excellent source of Vitamin A, while roots are a good source of Vitamin C.  Choose beets that are firm and well-shaped, and avoid beets that are shriveled, soft or larger than 2 ½ inches in diameter, as these will most likely be woody.  For beets that are tender and cook quickly, pick out those that are less than 1 ½ inches in diameter.  When purchasing beets with the tops attached or if looking for beet greens, the leaves should be small, crisp and dark green. Most of the beets grown in Wisconsin are red beets, but there are also pink, purple, white, and yellow beets. When storing beets, remove the tops immediately while leaving about 1 inch of stem—this reduces moisture loss.  Beets should not be washed before use -- wrap the beets in a damp cloth and store in refrigerator. Fresh beets are generally available in Wisconsin in June through October.

Beet Extras Grown since ancient times, beets are a potherb related to Swiss chard.  Beets are thought to have originated in the Mediterranean region of southern Europe and both the root and the leaves of the beets are edible. Beets get their characteristic bright red color from betacyanin.

Information from the Wisconsin Fresh Market Vegetable Growers Association, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection and the University of Wisconsin-Extension.