Too many people dislike beets, an unfortunate fact. Those who love beets, really love them. Beets are a highly nutritious root, good for heart and colon health. There are many wonderful ways to incorporate beets into the daily diet.
Beets come in many varieties these days. Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s my Dad grew beets in the garden out back. Mom regularly canned beets, summer after summer, and one of the things I loved was peeling them. Beets are interesting in that if cooked whole, and allowed to cool slightly, the skins can easily be slipped off. It was one of my chores before Mom poured her vinegar solution over them in their jars. I learned to love beets pickled, as that was what we had most often.
Unfortunately, just growing up with beets present summer after summer is not enough to guarantee that one will like them. Some of my sisters do not, while others, like me, love them. Another thing that was a yearly use of beets was a recipe from my Serbian Grandmother. She made a relish of sorts from canned beets, grated finely and adding in prepared horseradish and a little sugar. This was an Easter treat, served with ham. To this day I try to make some of this condiment any time we have a ham around the house.
Beets in Recipes
Sliced cooked beets are wonderful in a salad. A layer of some baby greens, a few slices of beets, a little soft goat cheese and a handful of walnuts makes a terrific salad with just a light dressing. Beets just cooked or steamed are perfect for salad, though pickled beet slices are also wonderful.
Make a delicious relish by roasting 3 medium beets wrapped in foil. Place them on a small baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for an hour or until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Saute a coarsely chopped half onion in some olive oil until soft and translucent. Add in 2 peeled, cored and small diced apples to the pan and toss until they just begin to soften. Add in salt and pepper, along with 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar and 3 tablespoons of honey. A grating of nutmeg is also a nice touch. Once the beets are baked, allow them to cool enough to handle. Peel them by rubbing the skins off. Using gloves will prevent hands and nails from turning pink. Cut the beets into small dice and add to the apples and onions. Mix and allow flavors to meld for at least 2 hours. This is a delicious relish or side dish, good enough to eat alone.
Beets and Swiss chard are members of the same plant family. The beet greens can be eaten in the same ways, and the lively bitter taste is delightful. They are incredibly rich in nutrients, particularly beta carotene and lutein. A quick saute of beet greens with a few other vegetables make a quick and light stir fry.
Beets can be eaten raw also, grated onto a salad. They can be made into a similar beet and horseradish dish but all done fresh. Use fresh beets, finely grated and fresh horseradish finely grated, to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper.
There are beet varieties available these days I had never heard of as a child, but available in many places today. Chioggia beets are the most beautiful pink and white striped color. Spiraled layers of color make them a delight to the eyes as well as the stomach. Golden beets are just that, bright golden yellow inside. They are slightly less sweet than red beets, but also less earthy, which is sometimes the complaint people have about beets in general.
Some of the healthiest properties of beets are delicate. Over baking or cooking will lessen the amounts of the folate and lutein available. Beets are extremely high in heart healthy folate. They have great anti inflammatory properties and are incredibly high in fiber, making them great for colon health. They are also a good source of manganese and vitamin C. Make beets a part of your diet and begin reaping the rewards.
About The Author
My name is Chris Rawstern and I have been on a cooking and baking journey for 42 years. Many people have asked what A Harmony of Flavors means. Have you ever had a meal where the visual presentation was stunning, the smells were incredible, the taste was so remarkable that you ate slowly savoring every bite, wishing the experience would never end? Then you have experienced what a truly harmonious meal can be like.
My passion is to teach people how to create a Harmony of Flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own.
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