slice of bitten beet on a fork

How Much Do You Know About Beets?

White Beets

How much do you know about beets? There is a white beet variety that is grown specifically for sugar production. According to the USDA, 45% of sugar production comes from sugar cane, and 55% comes from sugar beets, or white beets. There is little taste difference between the sugar derived from sugar cane and the sugar derived from sugar beets. The most interesting fact I learned recently is that because the U.S. does not require labeling, we don’t know which type of sugar we are eating unless the packaging specifically states that it is 100% sugar cane.

Why would we want to know the difference? I have linked to some articles below with more details. One of the articles states that 95% of the sugar beets are genetically modified. Another article provides a brief description of the production process for both sugar cane and sugar beets. 

It appears neither is environmentally friendly. One last fact that I was surprised to learn is that some sugar is filtered with carbon derived from charred animal bones. What?! So much to learn.

And then, you have red beets and other colorful beet varieties. These are the king you can find in the produce section of grocery stores or at your local farmer markets. 

Red Beets

Red Beets are root vegetables with the texture similar to potatoes or carrots. The texture changes just the same when it is cooked. They become soft and smooth, and can be pureed as well. Beets have an earthy taste profile. To minimize this taste, if it is too pronounced for your taste buds, you could marinate the beets after they are cooked. The longer it marinates, the less you will detect the earthy tones.

Beets have nutrients that aid in lowering high blood pressure. They also contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, they are also marketed as a supplement product.

There may be some evidence that beets may help diminish the risks of certain kinds of cancers. In this Beet Nutritional Profile, you can view more specific nutrient information.

My mother used to say she loved beets, but I don’t recall her eating them or feeding them to my siblings and me growing up.

It was a few years ago when I tasted beets for the first time. They were part of a breakfast buffet at an out-of-town restaurant. It was a pickled-beet salad which appeared to have only the beats and mayonnaise. That salad piqued my interest in beets.

One day, I tried to replicate the salad with canned beets. It wasn’t great.

However, I did not give up. What do I mean? In case you didn’t know, our taste buds change over time. We only need to give our taste buds several chances to get adjusted to new flavors. After multiple tries, your taste buds are more forgiving.

It took only a couple more attempts at trying beets before I could say I liked them. I can eat them anytime.

Below are a few simple ways to prepare beets.

4 Simple Ways to Prepare Beets

Roasted Beets

Cut the beets into wedges and toss with olive oil. Add your favorite herbs and or spices, and to salt and pepper to taste. I like to sprinkle with fresh rosemary and lemon rind. 

The oven temperature and the cooking time to follow are a challenge because the size of the beets is not always the same. 

I tend to set the oven temperature to 400 degrees and roast the beets for 15 minutes. I then lower the temperature to 360 and check for doneness with a fork every 10 minutes. 

Beet Slaw Recipe

Another way I found to enjoy eating beets is to put them through a vegetable shredder and add coleslaw dressing. The slaw is a great side dish. It also goes well over tacos and sandwiches.


  • Shredded Beets
  • Shredded Carrot
  • Cole slaw dressing (make your dressing, or check out salad dressing choices in the produce department, in addition to salad- dressing aisle)
  • Pepper to taste
lunch bowl with strips of cooked beets


Mix ingredients. Enjoy!

Beet Fries with Blue Cheese or Feta Cheese


  • Beets
  • 1 tbsp grape seed oil
  • Salt & black pepper to taste
  • Crumbled blue cheese or feta cheese
Beet fries with feta cheese


  • Cut beets into wedges, set aside
  • Heat oil in frying pan on medium heat
  • Add beet strips to the oil and cover the pan
  • Cook on medium to high heat for 2-3 minutes
  • Reduce heat to low and uncover to stir every 2 minutes or so, and cover again
  • Use a fork to test for doneness
  • Turn off heat when done
  • Transfer to a serving platter, toss with salt, pepper, and blue cheese or feta cheese

Cooked Beet carpaccio

I haven’t tried this linked cooked beet carpaccio recipe yet, but it sure seems and sounds delicious. I will try it soon. 

The easiest way to prepare beets, aside from eating them raw, is to steam them or boil them like potatoes. You can incorporate them into salads in small portions until you develop your palate for them. Eventually, you will!

Other Beet Resources.

Difference Between Cane Sugar and Beet Sugar

Which Sugar Growing/Production is Lighter on the Land, Sugar Beets or Sugarcane? 

Sugar and the environment

Beets and other foods cooked in a pressure cooker