When buying beets, look for firm beets up to about 7.5 cm (3 inches) in diameter. The dusty red exterior may be rough, but should be dry and taut. Thoroughly scrub before using.
Boiling: With skins on, just cover whole washed beets (with root and about 2.5 cm/1 inch of stem attached) and add a little lemon juice or vinegar to help prevent bleeding. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender. Rinse cooked beets under cold water until they can be handled and the skins should slip right off. With skins off, peel and cut raw beets into small pieces, add lemon juice or vinegar and cook until tender. Do not overcook.
Roasting: With skins on, sprinkle beets with water (so they will partly steam), wrap them loosely in foil and place in a baking dish. Peeled, dress them with a little bit of olive oil and dried oregano and roast in a 200 C (400 F) oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until tender.
Microwave: With skins on, poke beets with a fork and cook, covered, on High in a little water. They can be totally cooked this way or just cooked for a couple of minutes to soften them before being peeled and added to a recipe or to finish cooking in another way. Peeled, cut into chunks and put with about 50 ml (1/4 cup) water in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and check every minute or so and move them around to ensure even cooking. Cook until tender.
Beet greens: Slice into ribbons and combine raw with other greens in a salad, but they can be a little bitter so use sparingly. Alternatively, steam for a side dish or saute with a little olive oil and garlic.
For salads: Grate raw or cooked beets into a salad. If raw, use smaller beets.
Cooked: Serve cooked beets drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar. Add grated or thinly sliced cooked beets to brown rice or quinoa and top with a bit of goat cheese. Combine with other root vegetables to roast.
For sandwiches: Use your imagination to add sliced or mashed beets to a sandwich with cold meat or egg salad.