Know Your Fruits and Veggies: Greens

Tender Greens

food - beet greensBeet Greens

All varieties of table beets have edible leaves that are primarily green in color. However, the veins in these beet greens tend to take on the color of the beet root. So you may find beet greens from yellow beets with yellow veins, beet greens from red beets having red veins and so on.

The greens attached to the beet roots can be prepared like spinach or Swiss chard. While beets are available throughout the year, their season runs from June through October when the youngest, most tender beets are easiest to find.

Beet greens have been enjoyed in cuisines worldwide since prehistoric times, especially in Northern Africa, Asia, and parts of Europe. Today, of course, they are enjoyed worldwide.

How to Select and Store

Here are a few things to look for when selecting fresh beet greens:

When choosing beet greens that comes attached to the roots, choose smaller beet roots over larger, tougher ones. They should be crisp looking and not wilted or slimy. They should appear fresh, tender, and have a lively green color.

Beets over 2-1/2 inches in diameter may be tough and have a woody core. Pass over any beet roots that are cracked, soft, bruised, or shriveled, or look very dry. Avoid elongated beets with round, scaly areas around the top surface. These beets will be tough, fibrous, and strongly flavored.

If the beet greens are still attached to the root cut the majority of the greens and their stems from the beet roots. Store the unwashed greens in a separate plastic bag squeezing out as much of the air as possible. Place in refrigerator where they will keep fresh for about four days.

Tips for Preparing and Cooking

If Beet Greens are still attached to the beet root, cut leaves off at the stem where the leafy portion ends; the portion of the stem between the leaf and the root is too tough to enjoy. Rinse the leaves under cold running water and cut into ½” slices. Do not soak the leaves in the water as water-soluble nutrients will leach into the water.

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