Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chioggia Beet

(Beta vulgaris)

"Pre-1840 Italian heirloom, introduced to the U.S. before 1865. Named for a fishing town near Venice. Uniquely beautiful flesh has alternating red and white concentric rings that resemble a bull's-eye. A feast for the eyes; wonderful for fresh eating and pickling. Retains markings if baked whole and sliced just before serving." -Seed Savers Exchange

Image credit: Mason Masteka

Pronounced "chee-o-jah," this beet grows early and is known for its ability to compete with weeds. Its Italian name of Dolce Di Chioggia comes from its extreme sweetness—many people say these beets are sweeter than carrots. It's a popular seller and is widely available, listed in the three seed catalogs sitting on the table in front of me—Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Sow True Seed, and Seed Savers.

Chioggia, Italy, called the little sister of Venice, seems to be a popular namesake for purple under-appreciated vegetables. It lends its name to a radicchio also.

Image credit: Andrea Sartorati

I've never liked beets, but when searching through the catalogs this season, I almost ordered this variety only in the hopes that I could pick one from our garden, slice it open and see those rings. Maybe next year.


  1. We had beets for the first time last month. They were steamed, drizzled in olive oil and served with chopped hazlenuts...way more tasty then I was expecting and this heirloom variety sounds even better!

    1. Nice! Although radishes are my red root veggies of choice, I'll be planting some Chioggia beets next year.