It wasn't too long ago that beets were unknown to many, save in pickled and canned form. But today, most of us have embraced beets in all their forms: red or yellow, roasted or boiled, cold or warm, in salads or in soups. We're even cooking up beet greens and serving them for dinner! But there is even more to learn about beets: what about the heirloom varieties? Today, we're taking a closer look at the beautiful and delicious Chioggia heirloom beet, with its surprising, candy-striped interior.
Where are they from?
Chioggia beets come from the Italian town of Chioggia, near Venice. They've been harvested since the early 19th century, beloved not only for their spectacular interior, but also for their sweet flavor.
Where can I find them?
Chioggia beets can be found throughout the US, either at specialty food stores or at farmers markets. If you can't find any being grown and sold near you, you can also purchase Chiogga beet seeds online and plant them in your garden at home.
How can I prepare them?
Chioggia beets can be prepared just like any other kind of beet. To cook them, first scrub them, then either boil them or roast them. To boil, bring water to a boil and add a few spoonfuls of lemon juice or white vinegar, to keep their color from bleeding. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, until tender. Cool until they can be handled; then simply slide off the skins.
To roast, prick the beets all over with a fork and wrap with aluminum foil. Roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes to an hour, until tender. Like with boiled beets, cool until they can be handled; then simply slide off the skins.
How do I serve them?
Serve Chioggia beets in slices through the center axis, which will allow you to display their beautiful color. Slice the beet in half at the hemisphere, through the core. Then cut slices in either half.
Try using them in some of these delicious beet recipes:
- Toss them with Champagne vinaigrette and aged goat cheese in our beet salad recipe
- Display their beautiful pattern as homemade beet chips
- Stack them with goat cheese in a beet millefeuille
- Pair them with kale atop a beet pizza