For something sweet but also healthy to top your salads with, this blueberry balsamic beet dressing hits the spot.
Some researchers think that the reason there are so many Russian centenarians is that Russians eat a lot of beets. The colorful root vegetables contain nutrients that are said to protect against certain cancers, especially colon cancer.
The sweet taste of beets tips us off to their relatively high sugar content, while the beet greens have a somewhat bitter taste, similar to chard. Raw beetroots have a crunchy texture, but when they are cooked, they become soft and almost buttery.
Although available year-round, beets are in season from June through October; this is when the youngest, most tender (and best tasting!) beets are easiest to find. When buying beets, select smallish or medium-sized beets with a firm root. Look for smooth-skin and a deep color. An advantage to buying smaller, younger beets is that they may be tender enough that peeling won't be needed once they are cooked.
If you buy beets with the greens still attached, cut the majority of the greens from the beetroots, so they do not wick moisture away from the beetroot itself. Leave one or two inches of the stem attached to prevent the roots from "bleeding." Do not wash beets before storing. Place them in a plastic bag—squeeze out as much of the air from the bag as possible—and place in refrigerator where they will keep for several weeks.
Store the unwashed greens in a separate plastic bag squeezing out as much of the air as possible. Place in refrigerator where they will keep fresh for a few days.