Love the beet, but say ‘bye to the stain


You can always tell when I’ve been cooking with beets. My fingers are fuschia, my counter tops are stained purple, and my shirt, inevitably, has two or three damning pinhole spots of bright red.

I love beets, but they are evil. More accurately, they are just really annoying to handle. No matter how careful I am, I always end up making a mess.

Thank goodness the folks at Le Tre Lune farm have taken care of my problem. They’re harvesting white and gold varieties that make cooking beets a pleasure.

You’ve probably seen gold beets before; the white beets, a variety called Blankoma, are even more special. The flavor is mild but distinctly beety. Like albino bunny rabbits, they even have pink eyes: Cut off the tops and you’ll see a pink center at the crown of the beet. And their greens are outstanding – sweet and tender, they taste more like spinach than like the leaves of their carmine cousin.

Farmer Luca Caffettani—who with his wife, Lauren Cox, and their business partner Katherine Kennedy comprise Le Tre Lune at Glover Family Farm in Douglasville—says he learned of the colorless beet while working last season at another local farm, Burge Organic in Mansfield. This past winter, the moon trio planted Blankomas under protective structures called hoop houses for an early spring harvest. They’ve been bringing them to market since mid-February.

“They’re really beautiful,” Caffettani says. “I wasn’t that much into beets, but right now they’re a staple of our production.”

Use white beets in any recipe that uses red beets, but with abandon. Caffettani and Cox usually roast them in foil, and Kennedy tosses all the greens together in a pot. But I think the best thing to do with white beets is to grate them—simply because I can. Who cares if the juice splatters? It’s WHITE! (Just be sure to toss the grated beets with a little vinegar or citrus juice, as they discolor quickly, like apples.)

Find Le Tre Lune’s white beets Saturday mornings at Decatur Farmers Market or through the farm’s CSA.

> Try this grate recipe for White Beet, Green Apple and Golden Raisin Muffins.
> Or this one, adapted from The New York Times, for Grated White Beet Salad.