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How to Buy, Store, and Cook with Beets in Season in December

Beets are one of winter’s sweetest treats. This root vegetable, which is harvested all summer through late fall, stores well and keeps for months. While mature both golden and red beets have an earthy, bitter flavor raw, they turn candy-like when roasted, grilled, or steamed. (Younger, early-season beets are tender and tasty raw.) Beets are also great for baking—their vibrant color acts as a natural dye, making chocolate cakes richer and darker.

How to Buy
If buying beets early in the fall or winter, there’s a good chance they’ll still have their tops. But the greens wilt long before the root (the actual beet portion of the veggie) goes badly, so farmers typically remove the greens before storing them. If you’re lucky enough to store a bunch with the greens, be sure that they aren’t wilted or mushy. If they’re pert and perky, they can be steamed, braised, or saut?ed.

How to Store
Store beets without their tops loose in an unsealed plastic bag in the fridge. Kept from moisture, they will last for weeks up to a couple of months. If the greens were attached, wrap them loosely in damp paper towel and keep in the crisper; the greens will last for about half a week. You can also pickle beets as you would cucumber—they’ll last indefinitely when canned properly, but if you don’t own a canner, you can store them in a sealed jar in the fridge for a few weeks.

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