Beets are known by many names:  beetroot, red beet, golden beet, garden beet, or blood turnip. Closely related to chard, the leaves are edible but the plant is harvested primarily for its bulb root.  In foods, beets are used in salads, as sides or pickled, and the red juice is used in borscht and other dishes.

Beets are thought to have originated as a wild plant in the eastern Mediterranean region.  They were eaten by both Greeks and Romans, and eventually found their way to what is ow Europe and into China.  Early plants were harvested for their leaves, having only small roots.  In Germany in the mid-1500s, a variety with a larger, bulbous root was discovered and considered a rarity.  It was called the”Roman beet.” Soon after, yellow varieties were found.  Today, the German term mangel-wurzel is still commonly used to describe beets.  modern beets range in color from a deep purple to multiple shades of red, to yellow, gold, and white.

Season Availability: All Year!

References: University of Illinois Extension; Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M University.