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Eat Smart, Move More at Farmers Markets: Beets



Authors as Published

Melissa Chase, Consumer Food Safety Program Manager, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech; Austin Brooks, Project Associate, Family Nutrition Program, Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech; Renee Boyer, Associate Professor, Extension Specialist, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech; Carlin Rafie, Assistant Professor, Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech; Anne-Carter Carrington, Central District Coordinator, EFNEP/SCNEP

Key Points

  • Good source of folate and manganese. Contain carotenoids including carotene that may be good for health.
  • When shopping, choose beets with firm, smooth skins and nonwilted leaves, if still attached. Smaller beets are more tender.
  • Kids can be produce pickers! Help them pick produce at the farmers market. Better yet, let them help you figure out a way to prepare produce items when you get home.
  • Fruits and vegetables that will be eaten raw should be kept separate from other foods, such as raw meat, poultry, or seafood.

Boiled Beets

Number of servings: 6


1 1/2 pounds beets
2 tablespoons vinegar


  1. Wash beets and trim tops and roots.
  2. In a large saucepan, add beets, vinegar, and enough water to cover. (This will help to keep the beets from“bleeding” — turning the liquid red.)
  3. Bring beets to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 45-60 minutes.
  4. Place pot under cold running water and rinse until beets are cool enough to be handled.
  5. Peel skin. Slice or dice and serve.

 Per serving: 33 calories; trace fat (0 g saturated fat); 1 g protein; 8 g carbohydrate; 2 g dietary fiber; 0 mg cholesterol; 59 mg sodium.

Marinated Beets

Number of servings: 12


3 pounds beets, cooked* and sliced
1 onion, chopped
½ cup juice reserved from cooked beets
3/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard


  1. Add beets and onions to a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over high heat, add reserved beet juice, vinegar, sugar, and dry mustard. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Pour mixture over beets and cover. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

*Follow the Boiled Beets recipe to cook beets.

Per serving: 82 calories; trace fat (0 g saturated fat); 1 g protein; 20 g carbohydrate; 3 g dietary fiber; 0 mg cholesterol; 276 mg sodium.

Quick Tips

  • Peel raw beets and serve with a simple dip.
  • Remove leaves, leaving about 1 inch of the stems, and use leaves as greens — raw or cooked. Store beet roots in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator up to three weeks.
  • Wash thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking.
  • Add beets along with other vegetables to skewers and heat thoroughly on the grill.
  • Golden beets have a sweeter and milder flavor than red beets.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) This material was partially funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP – and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). SNAP is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA).

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Publication Date

July 24, 2020