EN on Foods

August 2008 Issue

And the Beet Goes On…Deliciously, Nutritiously

The ancient Romans considered beet juice an aphrodisiac. They also used beets to treat fevers and constipation. The French discovered the sweetness of sugar beets when Britain cut off its sugarcane supply during the Napoleonic wars. Americans refer to this root vegetable (Beta vulgaris) simply as beets, but the rest of the world knows it as beet- root. Both beetroot and beet greens are edible. Although most beets are processed for cans or jars, fresh beets are readily available at farmersí markets; peak season is June through October. Specialty beets popular in restaurants these days include golden beets, baby beets and Chioggia beets (also called candy cane beets), an heirloom variety with a peppery taste and red and white concentric circles.

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