Don't blame beets for the fact that most cooks don't know what to do with them. First, they throw away the leafy green tops, which, though not highly nutritious, are especially delicious when briefly steamed, then pan-sauteed in olive oil and finally drizzled with lemon juice. The ruby-red root veg's bulbs need special care, too. Never peel them till after they're cooked, and always leave a half-inch of tops attached and the taproot intact. Otherwise, beets bleed away some of their health benefits along with their rich colour. Then there's their fortifying juice, which detoxifies the blood and stimulates the lymphatic system. Beet juice makes a great natural wood stain, too. Here's a recipe for Bukowski's Liver Flush, a non-alcoholic cocktail named for famous booze-hound Charles Bukowski, that's included in restaurateur Ruth Tal Brown's recently published Juice For Life cookbook (Macmillan). Juice a half-inch of ginger, followed by 2 raw medium-size scrubbed beets and half a peeled lemon. Next, juice 2 large peeled pink grapefruits and stir in 2 shakes of cayenne pepper. Add 20 drops of milk thistle tincture and pour into a tall glass. However you consume beets, drink lots of water afterward or you'll be passing pink next day.