When you’re buying beets, look for crisp, bright green tops, an indication of freshness.
Beet tops remove moisture from the root itself, so it’s best to cut them off as soon as possible. But don’t throw them away — the tops are delicious and should be eaten as a vegetable on their own.
Use beet tops as you would other leafy greens like chard, spinach or kale.
Steam beet tops and season with a little butter. Toss some into a pot of soup or stew. Include them in pasta dishes. Sauté beet tops in a little olive oil and garlic; add nuts and raisins.
Not only do beet tops taste good, they are good for you. They contain more iron, vitamin A, potassium and calcium than the roots. Save those tops and enjoy them!
Hawaii food writer Joan Namkoong offers a weekly tidbit on fresh seasonal products, many of them locally grown. Look for “Fresh Tips” every Wednesday in the Star-Advertiser.