Chioggia beets are medium to large and are globular to oval with a slightly flattened shape, connected to broad green leaves with thick, crisp, red stems. The skin is semi-rough due to spots, indentations, and marks, and firm, burgundy to dark red, and covered in fine hairs. Underneath the skin, the flesh is dense and naturally striped with concentric rings of white and fuchsia or red. When raw, Chioggia beets have a crunchy texture with a strong flavor, and when cooked, they develop a tender and soft consistency with a sweet flavor.
Chioggia beets are popularly used raw to preserve the bright stripes in the flesh and can be sliced into salads or garnished on top of soups. Coating the slices in lemon juice or vinegar will also help maintain the coloring. Chioggia beets can also be utilized in cooked applications, but the flesh will fade into a pale pink or white hue. When cooked, Chioggia beets can be roasted to develop a sweet flavor or steamed for a tender, soft consistency. They can also be thinly sliced and baked into chips, blended into sauces or dips such as hummus, sliced into sticks and wrapped into fresh spring rolls, or pickled for extended use. In addition to savory applications, Chioggia beets are a popular replacement in baked goods to add color and texture to items such as brownies and cakes. It is important to note that the skin should be peeled before consumption and is easiest to remove after it has been cooked. The leaves of Chioggia beets are also edible and can be used in recipes as spinach. Chioggia beets pair well with nuts such as pepitas, walnuts, and almonds, cheeses such as feta and goat, herbs such as cilantro, basil, and parsley, carrots, apples, ginger, scallions, and fennel.
Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Asian-Style Chioggia Beet and Carrot Salad
2 carrots, sliced thinly
2 Chiogga beets, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped almonds
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger