Are There Different Types of Beets?

There are four different types of beets, but there are a handful of different beet varieties.
Heirloom Forono Beets have Intense Flavor

Heirloom Forono Beets have Intense Flavor

Photo by: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Vegetable Gardening , 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Botanical Names: Beta vulgaris

This article is to define the different types of beets when it relates to shape or color and includes varieties or cultivars for that specific type.

Common Garden Beets:
Also referred to as table beets or beetroot. This category can be broken down by color:

Red Beets - People are most familiar with red or purple beets, often as children we experience canned beets from the grocery store. Please do not let this be your only taste experience with beets because it is completely wrong. Give beets a try again, I promise they will taste completely different than you remember. Roasted beets are absolutely delicious and when they come straight from the garden they are amazing. Beets are similar in potatoes where they almost will take on qualities of whatever you pair with them such as cooking them au gratin replacing the potatoes with beets. Delicious! Varieties to consider include: ‘Detroit Dark Red’, ‘Crapaudine’ and ‘Crosby Egyptian’.

Golden Beets  – Golden or yellow beets have a mild flavor compared to their counterparts. Many people are still becoming familiar with this color even though the first golden beet was introduced in the 1820s or earlier. Golden beetroot is a great way to introduce this vegetable into your family meals with its colorful appeal. With their mild and sweeter flavor, their taste is intensified when roasting. Some cultivars to consider growing: ‘Burpee’s Golden’, ‘Golden’ and ‘Golden Detroit’.

Striped Beets – these varieties are called Chioggia or Bassano Beets. The striping occurs on the interior of the vegetable and gives it a candy-cane pattern. This heirloom variety was first introduced to the American public in the late 1840. It was named after a fishing village in Northern Italy where it had been first cultivated in the early 1800’s. It can also go by the names: Candy Stripe or Bull’s Eye Beet.

‘Cylindra’ Beets  – Want to impress your guests at your next dinner party? Serve your guests ‘Cylindra’ beets, which look more like a carrot than a beet. This Danish heirloom variety dates back to the 1880s and goes by two other names including ‘Formanova’ and ‘Butter Slicer’. The latter name is due to its soft and desirable texture. The almost burgundy long, cylindrical shape is where the name obviously stems. At full growth after 60 days, most measure out at being typically 6 to 9 inches long.

Root Vegetables: Carrots, Beets, Parsnips

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Carrot ‘Parmex’

Dumpy, spherical roots make this one of the best carrots for sowing into patio pots or shallow soil. Despite their shape, they have a fine sweet flavor. The earliest crops can be sown under glass or protected with cloches.

Sow: Early to late spring
Harvest: Late spring to early fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Carrot 'Infinity’ F1

This late maincrop carrot has an elegant, slender root that is delicious raw or cooked. The sweet carrots are deep orange right to their core and keep well in the soil into fall or can be lifted and stored successfully.

Sow: Early spring to midsummer
Harvest: Late summer to late fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Carrot ‘Purple Haze’ F1

As its name suggests, this variety has unconventional dark purple roots, which reveal contrasting orange cores when they are sliced. Flavor is not sacrificed and is particularly good when raw.

Sow: Early spring to early summer
Harvest: Early summer to late fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening

Carrot 'Bangor’ F1

Long, stocky roots are produced in large quantities, especially in moist soil, by this excellent maincrop variety. Crops can be harvested from late summer and throughout fall, and store well once lifted.

Sow: Mid-spring to early summer
Harvest: Midsummer to late fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Carrot ‘Flyaway’ F1

Specially bred to be less prone to attack by carrot flies, this maincrop carrot produces good crops where the pest would render others inedible. The stout, cylindrical roots are smooth-skinned and sugary.

Sow: Early spring to midsummer
Harvest: Late spring to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Carrot ‘Carson’ F1

Fall and winter bring good cropsof this medium-sized, tapering variety. The rich orange color, combined with the delicious crunchy texture and sweetness, makes them irresistible when eaten raw.

Sow: Mid-spring to midsummer
Harvest: Late summer to early winter
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Beet ‘Boltardy’

A reliable variety yielding traditional deep red globe-shaped roots with a fine sweet flavor. Perfect for sowing under cloches in early spring because of its excellent resistance to bolting.

Sow: Early spring to midsummer
Harvest: Early summer to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Beet ‘Pablo’ F1

One of the best varieties for growing in patio containers and perfect to harvest as baby beets. The smooth, deep red, spherical roots taste exceptionally sweet; they also stand well in the soil without bolting or becoming woody.

Sow: Mid-spring to early summer
Harvest: Midsummer to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Beet ‘Chioggia Pink’

A beautiful curiosity; the rich red skin of this spherical root conceals flesh marked with concentric rings of blush pink and white. Its sweet, mild flavor is delightful raw or cooked.

Sow: Mid-spring to midsummer
Harvest: Early summer to mid-fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Beet ‘Forono’

Elongated, burgundy-colored roots make this variety ideal for slicing. Tender young roots have a particularly intense flavor, so sow successionally for a continuous supply. Prone to bolting if sown too early.

Sow: Mid-spring to early summer
Harvest: Midsummer to late fall
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Parsnip ‘Gladiator’ F1

A popular hybrid parsnip that matures quickly, producing consistently reliable, early-maturing crops of white-skinned roots. ‘Gladiator’ also benefits from good canker resistance.

Sow: Late winter to mid-spring
Harvest: Mid-fall to early spring
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Parsnip ‘Tender and True’

In deep soil, this variety forms exceptionally long roots, which are often considered to have one of the finest parsnip flavors. It is also resistant to canker and is a firm favorite with exhibition growers.

Sow: Late winter to mid-spring
Harvest: Late fall to early spring
Soil Preference: Well-drained soil
Sun or Shade: Full sun

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Mangel-wurzel Beets  – Also referred to as mangold. This type of beet was often used for animals in the 1800s, but it has grown in popularity over the ages with gardeners. The shape looks more like a cross between a carrot and beet creating a fat, top-heavy carrot. Varieties such as ‘Mammoth Red Mangel’ can have beets that reach 20 pounds each! Many gardeners prefer to pick this variety when it is immature and smaller in scale. ‘Yellow Cylindrical’ is another mangel variety that is a rare European heirloom having golden-yellow color with a sweet flavor profile.

Sugar Beets  – Sugar Beets look more like a turnip than a beet. Their coloring is off-white and conical in root structure. About 20% of the world’s sugar production is from sugar beets and the other 80% coming from sugarcane. The sucralose level is extremely high and most people do not eat these beets as they would with the yellow, red, or white varieties. Sugar beets are typically only grown as a commercial crop. However, growing your own sugar beets would be a great project for children of all ages as the greens could be used like spinach or Swiss chard and the root could be used to produce sugar- teaching on multiple different levels about gardening and food.

Have fun with your garden and grow a different type and variety each year!

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