Brighten your meals with BEETS
If the last beets you ate were from a can (or none at all!), it’s time to (re)discover this beautiful, nutrient-dense vegetable. Don’t let the dull, dirty exterior and bad memories of tinned, bitter beets deter you! Beets and their greens are a delicious, easy way to boost the nutritional value of any meal.
Packed with essential nutrients, beets have been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, increased exercise performance, and reduced inflammation. Beets are a root vegetable and typically have a rough outer skin covering the root and a long stem and green leaves that grow above ground.
Before enjoying beets, peel away the dirty skin to reveal the gorgeous colors inside -- different varieties are dark red, golden-orange, white, and even striped. The deep-colored beets can stain your fingers (and countertops and cutting boards), but rubbing with lemon juice will help get the stains out.
The simplest way to serve beets is to add crunchy raw beets to salads and slaws. When cooked, beets become super sweet. They can be steamed and roasted. Roasting caramelizes their natural sugars, making them extra delicious. Cooked beets can be added to salads, marinated with lemon juice and fresh herbs, or added to a roasted vegetable medley, or mixed with cooked grains such as quinoa or brown rice.
Beets can also be juiced! Recent studies have shown that beet juice may boost stamina to help you exercise longer, improve blood flow, and help lower blood pressure.
Beets can be purchased both with or without their greens. If you buy them with the greens, don't toss them. More nutritious and just as versatile as spinach, they are delicious steamed, sautéed, or wilted and chopped in soups, stews, pasta dishes, and tomato sauce.
While beets are available throughout the year, their season runs from June through October. Choose beets whose roots are firm and deep in color, and with greens that are bright and not wilted. Avoid beets that are shriveled or soft. Beets should be stored in the refrigerator unwashed and separate from their greens. Beet roots will keep in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks, while the greens are freshest for about 4 days.
In addition to all the benefits of beets, they can offer a few surprises. Beets don’t just stain your hands, countertops and clothing; they also pass through your digestive tract and tint the color of your poop and pee! The technical term for the presence of the red pigments in urine or stool is beeturia. Many people experience this colorful surprise after eating beets, so don’t worry, it’s completely normal.
One cup of raw beets has 58 calories, 4 grams of fiber and is a good source of folate (B9), manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin C. One cup of cooked beet greens has 39 calories, 4 grams of fiber and is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, potassium, manganese, vitamin B2, magnesium, vitamin E, and calcium.
Recipe: Roasted Beets & Sautéed Beet Greens
1 bunch beets with greens
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pistachios
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Wash the beets and the greens thoroughly.
Peel the beets and cut into cubes. Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes until the beets are tender.
When the beets are almost done roasting, heat the 2 remaining tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.
Add the garlic and onions and cook for a few minutes.
Chop the beet greens and add them to the skillet.
Cook until the greens are wilted and tender.
Serve the beet greens and the beets on a platter, drizzled lightly with balsamic or red wine vinegar, or fresh squeezed lemon or orange juice.
Sprinkle with chopped pistachios or walnuts.