I quit feeding my first-born beets, because when she “sputtered” them back, I had red-stain problems on my clothing and hers. It was easy to never feed her beets. When she became grown, she saw beets with their dirt-laden red bulbs, thick red stems and shaggy-looking leaves as not too appetizing. She had no problem continuing to avoid beets. Now she’s an adult and into health food and beets are a quite the top-of-the-heap antioxidant. This means she might reverse her beet thinking. Will she bother?
Beets can be traced back to North Africa as well as Asia and Europe, and they were used only as a green, at first. The Romans were the first to enjoy beet roots, and they became very popular by the 16th century. Once it was discovered beets were a concentrated form of sugar, which wasn’t always easy to obtain, beets became even more important. Their popularity, for eating diminished some, however, when spinach was introduced as a vegetable.
Beets contain the phytonutrients betalain and vulgaxanthin which have been demonstrated to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification protection. Studies have found human tumor cell growth has lessened when betanin pigments from beets were introduced.
Choose only beets which are firm with smooth skin and ones which have a bright color.
WAYS TO SERVE BEETS:
Beet leaves and stems of young plants are steamed briefly and eaten as a vegetable or added to soups and stir-frys
Beets mixed with oil and vinegar and served in salads
Beets made into borsch, a soup served with yogurt.
Beetroot can be peeled, steamed, and then eaten warm with butter
Harvard beets are thickened and seasoned with vinegar.
Raw shredded beets in salads
A traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dish is red beet eggs. Hard-boiled eggs are refrigerated in the liquid left over from simmering beetroots turning the eggs into a deep pink-red color.
Make a relish of grated, cooked beets, horseradish, vinegar and sugar.
Beets used to intensify the colour of certain red foods
Roast beets with other root vegetables
Beetroot can also be used to make wine.
Cut medium beets into quarters without removing the skin. Steam and serve with butter.