Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Food Trends: Beets

Cathy Strange’s role as global cheese and specialty foods buyer for Whole Foods Market® puts her in the unique position of travelling the world to not only discover and encourage the world’s great cheesemakers, but also to help advance the artisanal food movement and investigate the world’s emerging food trends. If a new preparation technique is causing ripples in Berlin or a centuries-old curing tradition is gaining a foothold in Seattle, Cathy knows about it.

Pick Up the Beet

As a youngster, I did not like to eat beets. I was only served ones that were pickled and found them mushy with a really strong flavor. But recently I’ve taken another look at this root vegetable and found a new world of delicious flavors and textures — and numerous ways to prepare them to add “wow” to my dishes.

These days you’ll find a wide variety of fresh beets in produce. There’s the traditional red beet — a deep crimson red with that basic earthy sweetness. There’s the golden beet with its striking almost neon yellow color. Goldens are slightly less sweet, but also milder and less earthy. Lately I’ve been enjoying the baby-striped beet. When sliced it displays a dramatic fuschia and cream striped pattern. All of these beets can be prepared by roasting, steaming, boiling or grating raw into salads. The golden in particular is gorgeous in salads with its vibrant color.

Preparation Tips

  • If boiling beets, add a tablespoon or two of vinegar to help them retain their color.
  • Don’t forget the greens! Beet greens are great in salads, steamed or sautéed.
  • Roasting beets intensifies their sweetness and makes their skins incredibly easy to peel.
  • Juicing beets brings out all their nutritional power. My rule of thumb is to use 1/3 beet, 1/3 green vegetable (such as spinach or kale), 1/3 fruit (the fruit takes the flavor in any direction you like).
  • Red beets will bleed a little and color the rest of your dish. Lighter color beets will not.
  • Not up to preparing your own? Looks for prepared beet juice as well as local varieties of pickled beets. Try grated beets from our salad bars. Look for beets and other root vegetables in our Prepared Foods cases.

I just can’t get enough of this wonderful delicately sweet earthy vegetable. What variety is your favorite? A favorite way to prepare them? Tell me your best beet story in the comment section below.


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Yel says …

Dug up the last of my tiny red beets today. Making Swedish pickled beets in 123 vinegar tonight! They're supposed to sit and marinate for three days but have never lasted that long....

Pure Clean Powder says …

Beets and beet juice are so messy to prepare that many people just skip the beet recipes. Beet juice powder solves that problem and is lots more versatile! It has all the organic nutrients of whole beets but is a whole lot easier to use. And for those who don't like the taste of beets, powder can be mixed into any other juice, salad dressing, peanut butter, etc., so it tastes like anything you want it to taste like. Excuses gone.

nora says …

I juice the red messy beets. Mixed with other veggies and fruits, simply delish!! I would love to look at those stripped beets.

Carol Bergschneider says …

When traveling in Chile I first tasted beets grated raw onto a salad- what a wonderful, tasty surprise! I too remember only boiled beets and never was a fan of them.

Saga says …

A few weeks we dined at Prune in NYC. I had the beets in harissa as a side and I cannot stop thinking about it. The flavor combination was so unusual and memorable.

david arora says …

Great article Cathy. We grow our own beets and press them into a fantastic Not from Concentrate Juice called "Love Beets". Two great flavours, one, super tasty beetroot and the other Cherry berry and beetroot. Have you tried them!!

Bonnie Kaake says …

Oh how I loved pickled beets! Would load up on them at any salad bar. After being diagnosed as prediabetic, I had to stop eating them...high glycemic index vegetable. In January 2012, my husband and I went vegan after watching the movie "Forks Over Knives". As a result, I am now on the low end of normal for blood glucose level AND off 8 prescription meds. Eating beets now without a problem and looking forward to finding new ways to prepare them.


Cathy Strange My wife and I discovered a new cheese produced in the Alps of northern Italy that we believe your customers would really enjoy. This cheese is produced by only one Latteria (dairy) and has never been imported before. The taste is a cheddar base with a parmigiano finish. Please let me know if you are interested. Make it a great day......Peter McElroy