Choose beetroot in bunches, with the leaves still intact. The bulbs should be firm with taut skins (softness and wrinkled skins are a sign of age) and the leaves crisp and blemish free.
Go for medium-sized beets over the larger ones for a milder, yet still utterly delicious, flavour. First prize are the tiny micro beets, which, when cooked, are irresistibly sweet with a velvety-smooth texture.
Store beetroot, with the leaves trimmed, in layers in a box or crate. Separate the bunches with damp, but not sodden, packaging materials such as sand or peat, and store in a cool dark place. Beetroots can also be kept in the fridge for up to three days.
Prepare beetroot by trimming the stalks and rinsing under cold, running water. Do not peel or cut away the root as this will cause the brilliant red colour to seep out. If serving cold, use a potato peeler to remove the skins beforehand.
Beetroot and your health
The pigment that gives beets their rich, purple-crimson colour - betacyanin - is also a powerful cancer-fighting agent. Beetroots' potential effectiveness against colon cancer, in particular, has been demonstrated in several studies.
Click for some super clever ways with beetroot