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Although beets prefer cool temperatures, they will tolerate warmer weather, and as such they are grown in most of the U.S. Beet roots are most often round and red, but some varieties may also be flat or long and tubular, and some are golden in color, or deep dark purplish red. Sugar Beets are a special variety grown for high sugar content, and they are industrially processed to make table sugar both in the U.S. and abroad.

Novelist Tom Robbins writes on beets: "The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent, not of passion. tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious."

A favorite of eastern European countries is borscht, a deep red, hearty soup that is a popular winter dish from Poland to Siberia to the Ukraine.

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