Eat Your Stripes (Chioggia Beets)
Few natural foods can be mistaken for bull’s eyes. But the Chioggia beet (pronounced kee-OH-gee-uh), is one of them, full of dramatic dark pink and white spirals.
Also known as candy cane or candy stripe beets, Chioggia beets are an heirloom varietal from Northern Italy. Notably, these root veggies do not “bleed” as much as regular beets, meaning easier cleanup and less worries about red juice staining your hands and clothes. Use Chioggia beets to add mild, earthy flavor and a pop of color to salads, soups and more.
Visit the Co-op’s Produce Department today and pick up some locally grown Chioggia beets from Boldly Grown Farm, available while supplies last. Get the most out of the Chioggia and be gentle when washing and don’t break the skin and let some nutrients escape. Choose smaller, more tender beets if serving raw for salad. Any size will work well for boiling, roasting and/or steaming in recipes.
Just Beet It: Preparing Chioggias
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup hazelnut or olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 6 small Chioggia beets, peeled and sliced very thin
- 1/2 cup crumbled/grated Mizythra/Myzithra or feta cheese
- 1/4 cup torn mint leaves
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts
Whisk together lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add beets and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients.
Roasted Chioggia Beets
Photo & recipe adapted from noshingwiththenolands.com
- 12-14 beets, depending on size
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 3 sprigs thyme
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 F. Slice and chop beets into equal sizes and place on a rimmed cookie sheet. Toss with the olive oil, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 30 min. until golden and cooked through. Serve immediately.
Beet Shopping & Storage Tips
Available almost year round, beets abound in the winter. Look for smooth, hard, uniformly round beets with no cuts, bruises, wet spots or shriveled skin. They should be bright and not too large (overgrown beets will be more fibrous). If they have their leaves, they should be bright green. If they have a large, hairy taproot, it means that the beet is probably overgrown and may be tough.
To store beets, trim the leaves two inches from the root and store them separately. While you’ll want to eat the leaves as soon as possible, the roots will keep in the refrigerator—in a plastic or produce bag—for up to three weeks. Just before cooking, wash the beets gently. If necessary, peel the skin after cooking (peeling isn’t always needed with smaller beets). To use the greens, wash them in running water to remove the dirt.