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Chioggia beets bunch

Cooked Chioggia beetroot is also good

My Spring Chioggia (candystripe) beetroot crop did well, but with the weather warming up it was time to pull the last of them. Because of their red and white rings I have only been using them as carpaccio, but as we had so many it was time to try them cooked.

The white and red patterns make candystripe beetroot eye-catching

The white and red patterns make candystripe beetroot eye-catching

Beetroot and carrots are two crops I had to learn to get right, but now that the soil is good for them they do well. I sow three types of beetroot, Chioggia, Detroit, and Early Wonder, and use the second two purple beets for cooking. The red and white zones of Chioggia disappear in cooking, but I read that they have a fine flavour, so gave them a try baked.

Cooked Chioggia beetroot

chioggia cooked

Cooked, Chioggia beetroot still have great colour, just no more candy stripes.

I just trimmed the tops and roots, sat them on foil, tossed some olive oil over them and sealed the foil into a packet. Then I put them in the oven with a batch of bread (240 C hot oven, falling) for an hour. When they were cool I peeled them, which needed a potato peeler by comparison with standard beetroot skin that just rubs off.

I am impressed with their colour. It’s a nice golden to orange colour, and a bit translucent. They looked great diced in a mixed vegetable ‘sauce’ over zucchini pasta. The flavour is good too. The eye might deceive the tongue in this case though; I would say the flavour is different to baked purple beets, like ‘Detroit’, but I would have to do a side-by-side tasting to evaluate that. Certainly if cooked Chioggia beets were on your plate and you didn’t know what they were, they would at least be a bit of a pleasant puzzle while you worked out their identity.

So I won’t be stuck using my Chioggias for carpaccio only in future, although it’s still the best use for their striking colour.

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