Beets are an incredibly versatile type of root vegetable, bursting with flavor, overflowing with nutritional benefits, and available in vibrant hues. In short, they’re an outstanding vegetable to add to your dishes and menus.
Farmer Lee Jones notes how beets are one of the most underappreciated vegetables—and it’s true that, if someone has ever eaten an overgrown beet, it could taste “nasty and gnarly.” Grown right, though, they are a culinary treat. Fortunately, at The Chef’s Garden, we grow plenty of farm-fresh beet varieties, cultivating them with love and attention and then harvesting them at the perfect intersection of flavor and freshness.
Badger Flame Beet: When raw, this beet is incredibly flavorful and crunchy. Cooked, the texture becomes delightfully smooth. Eye-catching interior hues of this elongated beet are striped in flame-like orange and yellow.
Bull’s Blood: Crunchy, sweet, and delicious, bull’s blood is a rare heirloom treasure, exceptional in every way. Add layers of flavors to your dishes with this choice, one with bi-petal green leaves with an eye-catching red vein.
Candy Stripe Beet: Imagine a very sweet, tender, and smooth beet with an earthy finish—and that’s the flavor of a cooked candy stripe beet. Pink at the base, this unique red-pink variety features an interior with a fuchsia-white bullseye.
Gold Beet: Looking for a beet with less sweetness, one with a full-on spinach-beet flavor? These orange-skinned beauties with a bright golden interior fit the bill. What a satisfying crunch, too!
Red Beet: The oh-so sweet and nutty traditional red beet has a nice, firm texture with a wine-red interior. Green leaves are painted with stems and veins of wine with the entire root vegetable delightfully edible.
Mixed Beet: To get the best of all varieties, the mixed beet offering includes ones that are sweet sugar to ones with strong and earthy flavors—and then others in between. Benefit from a spectrum of shapes and textures as well as a rainbow of hues.
Use our farm-fresh beets in your dishes and menus—and enjoy browsing these beet recipes.
Our beet recipes include:
Poached Beet with Curry Dressing and Pistachios
Golden Bloody Mary
Beet Sidecar Cocktail
Baked Rainbow Roots with Leprechaun Pesto
Poached Baby Beets with Mixed Microgreens
Jalapeño Beet Salad
Plus, here are some of our treasured chefs use beets in recipes. Here, Chef Chris Montgomery shares how he prepares our flavorful beets, which includes slow roasting our baby beets with olive oil and salt for a signature fresh beet and goat cheese salad. He then coats the beets with lemon oil and blueberry balsamic vinaigrette. Chef Chris also enjoys dehydrating and then frying them or pickling our beets.
Chef Jamie Simpson of the Culinary Vegetable Institute greatly appreciates the marvelous texture of shaved vegetables, ever since one of the CVI’s first chefs created a beet carpaccio that was as delicious as a slice of quality beef. The result: a recipe for a Root Vegetable Sandwich.
Jamie calls the act of making sandwiches out of root vegetables an “elusive, delicate space” before sharing that it really isn’t that hard. Benefits of a root veggie sandwich include how they’re tasty when hot or cold; how you can switch out the vegetables and greens you use; how you can feature one root vegetable or use a combo—and how, if you want to skip the bread, you can. Flexibly delicious!
Through experimentation, Chef Jamie discovered that, to optimize the meaty satisfaction of beets and other root vegetables, you just have to quickly cook them on high heat. Outside of this tip, the recipe can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like. Add mustard. Add ketchup. Add a spicy condiment. Or skip the condiments altogether and simply let the flavor of the quality ingredients shine.
Health Benefits of Beets
We’ve shared info about the health benefits of beets in previous posts, including these:
Nutritional Benefits of Beets
Health Benefits of Beets: They’re Hard to Beat
Plus, here’s a deeper look at the betalains found in beets. Ones with the betacyanin type are deep red/violet in hue while ones with betaxanthins are yellow. In other words, the dark red/purple beets are higher in the first while our gold beets are higher in the second. Betalains can also help reduce inflammation and provide antioxidants, which may help to protect people against cancer and arthritis, among other health benefits.
Now here’s something intriguing about the presence of betalains in beets, a tribute to the magic and mystery of Mother Nature.
Going back into the mists of time, the beet “discovered” a new shade of red, one previously unknown in the plant world. Then, strangely enough, the beets and their biological cousins stopped becoming the specific reddish hue used by the rest of the plants in the world and have used their own unique color of red ever since.
Scientists explain that most plants with red fruits and leaves contain anthocyanins. Ancient beets, though, developed betalains in red and yellow, and then turned off their anthocyanins because they were no longer needed. Today, Swiss chard and rhubarb, among other plants, also have this betalain development.
Beet greens, meanwhile, provide lutein and zeaxanthin, two substances that contribute to eye health.
Farmer Lee Jones and Beet Leaves
In 2021, AgriNews-Pubs.com interviewed Farmer Lee and shared how, one day, the Jones family had planted too many beets, placing the surplus in a cool spot. Later, the layer of leaves that had received no exposure from the light, he discovered, had turned yellow with red veins and “it’s one of the sexiest things that you can imagine. . . . We’re like, ‘Holy smokes, this is nicer than anything we grew on purpose!’”
The writer notes that, although you may not have previously found plants to be sexy, you very well might after talking to Farmer Lee and spending time with his “infectious enthusiasm for farming. He’s a relentless experimenter, willing to try new techniques, new ideas and new flavors.”
History of Beets
According to an article by PBS.org, people originally ate the beet greens and discarded the roots or perhaps used them in medicines. (At The Chef’s Garden, we love to experiment with using the entire vegetable from root to tip!) According to the article, beets also:
Appeared in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Appeared in Elizabethan tarts and stews
Grew in Thomas Jefferson’s garden in Monticello
Decorated fresco walls in Pompeii
Enhanced the appeal of Aphrodite in Greek myths
Beets—like plenty of other crops—made their way to the Americans through European immigrants with the Shakers being among the first to realize its commercial potential in the United States.
Here’s another fact from just a few decades ago. Bob Jones, Sr. decided that his family would return to the regenerative farming techniques that had served our grandparents and great-grandparents so well—techniques that lead to healthy soil, healthy crops, healthy people, and a healthy planet.
“Regenerative agriculture is poised to move into the mainstream faster than many people expect, in my opinion. It is a classic triple-win situation. Consumers can receive healthier foods, farmers can have a more secure and prosperous future and the planet will benefit because regenerative agriculture provides it a better chance to heal and restore itself.” (Forbes, 2021)
At its heart, regenerative agriculture is a holistic system that allows us to cherish our soil and treat it as a treasured crop. It’s a system that allows us to leverage natural resources while leaving Earth in better shape than when we first began farming that plot of her land.
Through using cover crops and otherwise focusing on regenerating the land, we’re building up healthy soil, earth that contains healthy microbes that allow us to improve and enhance the flavor, color, aroma, and nutrition of the crops we grow. When soil is positively microbe-active, this helps to keep away any of the bad stuff, such as E. coli. Crops develop strong immune systems that protect them from insect damage and disease, just like strong immune systems help to protect people and their health.
In fact, independent research has verified how our crops have up to 500% more mineral content than USDA baselines. In other agricultural research lab, we’re not resting on our laurels, either, continuing to look for new ways to bring chefs and home cooks the absolute best in flavor, quality, nutrition, and visual appeal.
You can find more information about regenerative farming here.
Order Your Farm-Fresh Beets
Hopefully, this information has inspired you to find even more creative ways to use the flavor and eye-catching appeal of the unbeatable beat.
We invite you to talk to your product specialist to see what varieties are at the peak of freshness and flavor, and then order just the right beets in this best sizes to paint a delicious picture in your dishes and menus. New to The Chef’s Garden! Welcome. Here’s information about how you can contact us.