In writing this blog series, “Focus on Health.” I am reminded of several articles I read around the start of the year, listing “The Healthiest Foods You’re Not Eating.” Basically, all the lists were comprised of super foods—those veggies, fruits, grains and other ingredients that we know are good for us but that we avoid for whatever reason. One that we’ll be looking at this month is BEETS. Yay, beets!
Beets are high in folic acid, which is crucial during pregnancy. They are also chock full of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, calcium and iron. They are being studied for their cancer and heart disease prevention properties. Especially of interest to scientists is the pigment that gives beets their bright red color—Betacyanin—because it has been shown to fight cancer and possesses powerful antioxidants.
Perhaps you had them prepared the wrong way, like boiled to death. Perhaps you see them in the store and just don’t know what to do with them. In any case, beets are in season now, just waiting for you at your local farmer’s market or grocery store. Let’s look closer!
There are two main varieties: common red beets, and golden beets. Both are delicious and are prepared the same way, but golden beets have a milder flavor, while red beets have a stronger, earthier and sweeter taste. When you buy them, look for bright, strong leafy greens attached. The greens are edible and are highly nutritious themselves—don’t throw them out! If you aren’t going to cook the beets the day you buy them, keep them in the fridge, with the greens wrapped in a damp paper towel. The beets can last quite a while in your fridge, but the greens must be eaten quickly, like within a day or two, or they get limp and gross.
My favorite way to cook beets is to roast them in the oven. Wash the beets, remove leaves and stems, and place them on a large square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil, bake for 45 minutes at 375F, and let cool. The skins will slip right off in your hands. One warning: beet juice stains! You might want to wear gloves or an apron, and wipe up any spilled beet juice quickly. Okay, ready for some recipes to try? Here we go!
Twenty years ago I was a vegetarian and living on my own for the first time. My go-to snack? A can of beets and a spoonful of orange marmalade, simmered until hot and the juice is thick and sweet. Better than dessert!
This might be my favorite salad of all time:
I am making this salad on Valentines Day because I love the pink color:
This recipe for Pennsylvania Dutch pickled red beets and eggs is one my Mom made all my life. Now that she’s gone, my sister has taken on the tradition. She makes them every year for Easter. The color of the eggs – maroon on the outside, white and yellow inside – is shocking and delightful!
Beets can be shredded and eaten raw, too! Here’s a very minimalist raw beet salad:
When I think of Russian food, my mind immediately goes to Borscht. Ever had it?
And for you juicers out there, beet juice is the best! Try out a combination of beets, carrots, and apples for a sweet and healthy treat.
Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana
Please visit me at Frugal Girlmet for more unique recipes!
If you would like to contact Dana in regards to this blog, please email her at Dana@girlfriendscoffeehour.com