Beetroot is one of the few root vegetables still grown and consumed. In fact, although its leaves, large and colored, are edible, the production for the market is almost exclusively that of the tuber: round or elongated in shape, with fleshy pulp of red-purplish color (more common) or white, depending on the varieties, some selected and improved for large-scale commercial cultivation.
Among the historical homegrown varieties, recognized as Pat - Traditional Agri-food Product, there is the red of Chioggia , characterized by white body and red concentric rings. As the name suggests, the area of greatest production in Italy is Veneto (typical are the Ampezzo "casunziei", a sort of ravioli stuffed with beetroot, of Central European tradition), but it is also grown in the Po Valley and throughout the North.
When fresh, the beetroot should be purchased not too big (about 5-8 cm in diameter, otherwise it is fibrous) and baked or boiled with the peel. Available all year round and very popular are those pre-cooked, ready to use, on the market in vacuum packaging. They offer the advantage of practicality, even if they are a little less flavorful.