Cylindra heirloom beets

Cylindra heirloom beets

I found these at Central Fresh Market in downtown Kitchener: interesting (and unfamiliar) cylindra beets.

Named, obviously, for their shape, the beet root grows roughly like a carrot and can be over six inches in length. They are an heirloom variety that likely came from Denmark in the late-1800s and, although I haven’t tried the greens, they are apparently sweeter than common beet greens.

The flesh inside is deep, deep crimson-red and has a faintly sweet flavour. Perhaps their popularity though is hampered by their phallic shape?

Raw cylindra beets (Photo: WREats).

Cylindras are also known as “formanova” or “butter slicer” beets — apparently because of the E-Z slicing texture, but I didn’t notice much difference from a regular ol’ beet. Of course, because they are cylindrical, the shape makes them efficient for use in the kitchen with easier peeling, less waste and uniform cutting, especially for something like pickling.

For farmers, because they can be grown close together (again because of their elongated shape), they make for higher crop yield and do well in our cooler climates

I washed these cylindras, bathed them in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and added some fresh rosemary before wrapping them in aluminum foil and roasting them in a 425-degree the oven until soft. The skins peeled off easily. And they tasted pretty good too.

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