Beets

Background Info:

  • The high betanin content in beets gives the root its deep red hue and when steeped with other foods it imparts that rich natural color. This makes it a natural way to color foods without using dyes.
  • From the leafy greens to the gangly root of the bulb, beets are completely edible.
  • Beets come in deep red, white, golden, or striped
  • Sugar is produced from sugar beets
  • Can be eaten raw or cooked

Health Benefits:

  • Improved running performance
  • Lengthen time one can exercise before reaching exhaustion
  • Supports muscle by increasing blood flow
  • Supports nerve production
  • Contains nitrates and lipoic acid
  • Possibly lowers blood pressure

Nutrition Information (1 beet):

  • Calories: 35
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Cholesterol: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 65 mg
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sugar: 6 grams
  • Calcium: 2%
  • Vitamin C: 6%
  • Iron: 4%
  • Folate: 148 mcg in 1 cup
  • Also a source of Magnesium, Potassium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K

Choose:

  • Look for firm, smooth skins
  • If greens are still attached, choose those with non-wilted leaves
  • Smaller ones are more tender
  • Canned is convenient but fresh ones have more nutrients and less sodium
  • Pre-cooked plain beets are in the refrigerated produce section

Store:

  • Remove leaves, leaving about an inch of the stems
  • Store roots in plastic bag in refrigerator crisper drawer for up to 3 weeks in
  • Tops will keep for a few days in perforated bags

Prep:

  • Wash well just before using
  • Wear gloves when peeling to prevent staining your hands

Cook:

  • Can take more than an hour to become tender depending on the size
  • Cube and roast
  • Toss beet greens into a stir fry
  • Use in gratin with other winter vegetables
  • Add cooked, sliced, or raw grated ones to salads along with beet greens
  • Add diced beets to a vegetable soup or minestrone or blend
  • Include cubes on meat or vegetable kebabs
  • Pairs well with sharp, salty cheeses, vinegar, and citrus fruits
  • Saute or steam beet greens like chard or spinach
  • Popular juicing ingredient
  • Add cooked beets to baked goods for extra nutrients and moisture
  • Mash with sweet potatoes for a colorful side dish

References:

  • Smithson, Toby. (2014, September 30). “Eat right, live well: you can’t beat the benefits of beets.” Retrieved from http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140930/entlife/141009995/
  • “Beets: Nutrition. Selection. Storage”. Retrieved from http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/beets
  • Broihier, Kitty. “Beets.” Food and Nutrition. November/December 2015. 34-35.
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