When I was a kid, my sole exposure to beets was watching my grandmother eat jarred borscht. It was the color of Pepto-Bismol and as appetizing to me as steak is to a vegan. Luckily, many, many years later, I experienced a beet reawakening. On a frigid January day, I was able to get a last-minute reservation at Chef Dan Barber's epic farm-to-table restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns. The first bite of this unforgettable meal was a beet chip: simple, crispy, perfect. A few courses later, the waiter presented a refreshing, colorful salad made with beets picked on-site earlier that day. These root vegetables were so flavorful and earthy; from there, I was hooked.
How to choose them
When selecting beets at the farmers' market, opt for bulbs that feel heavy for their size. Ideally, the skin should be bruise-free, and the leaves and stems (if they're still attached) should be crisp.
How to use them
Beets can seem intimidating, but they are pretty easy to work once you get started. Whether you boil them, roast them or steam them, be sure to take care not to let the juice get onto your clothes. Beet stains can be pretty difficult to remove.
I canned a batch of pickled beets last weekend. I love having them around all year round to throw into salads and side dishes.
How to store them
Store your beets in a plastic bag in the fridge until you're ready to use them. They'll last up to two weeks.