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There's something about a beet.
Very rarely do people feel ambivalent about beets. Our ruby-hued friend (or candy-striped, golden, or white...) tends to polarize even the most adventurous eater, generally resulting in one of the following things: wildly passionate love or deep suspicion and disdain. My feelings unquestionably lean toward the former.
Early summer is a special, dreamy time for any true beet lover. Small, sweet, and tender, early season beets remind me of little earthbound truffles, rich and complex morsels that rival any high-quality dark chocolate. Even their greens are tender, with just a hint of the characteristic bitterness that pairs them so flawlessly with their rooty counterpart. As the summer goes on, the beets become large and robust and intense, their flavor grounded by a maturing earthiness that is unsurpassed. With the coming of autumn, temperatures drop and the earth cools. And then, the other moment a true beet lover waits for happens: frost. Magical things happen when the first bit of frost bites; the sugars concentrate and the beet sweetens. Round and weighty, they sit ripe for the picking, their dark flesh like garnets and rubies.
No matter the season and no matter the size, the impact of a beet's ravishing color and curvy shape is downright sexy.