Have you hated beets since you were a kid? Blame your parents for making you eat the mushy canned ones. But those of us who love this root vegetable know that fresh beets are sweet and nutty, firm in texture, and beautiful—emerging from the ground in shades of white, gold, magenta, candy-striped, and dark maroon.
Beets are at their best now and in the spring. When just harvested, they’re sold with their leafy green tops. Look for lush leaves and firm, unblemished roots. At home, cut the stems about one inch from the root, and refrigerate the greens and roots in separate perforated bags. Roasting enhances the root’s naturally high sugar content, and its earthiness pairs well with sharp cheeses like goat and blue, bright citrus fruits, toasted nuts, and grains. Find beets at area farmers markets, including the Good Groceries at Tewksbury Farms stand at Freedom Farmers Market (9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at the Carter Center).
This article originally appeared in our October 2014 issue under the headline “Beet It.”