Harvard beets are especially good when you start with fresh beets and bake them. Doesn't take much longer than boiling them and they're far more flavorful.
- Trim all but 1" off the stem and root ends of the beets, do not wash, do not peel; remove any dirt with a paper towel; place in a baking pan and seal tightly with aluminum foil; bake at 400° for 1 hour.
- When beets are cool enough to handle, remove roots, stems and skins; cut into 1/4" dice, there should be about 3 cups; set aside.
- Mix sugar, cornstarch, vinegar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking; whisk until thickened, about 30 seconds; remove from heat and whisk in butter.
- Add the beets and heat through; add salt to taste; serve at room temperature.