My first experience with beets happened years ago as a teenager. One of my dearest friends LOVED eating canned or jarred beets. Naturally, I tried them and did not share in her love. At all. My next experience, years later, was with beet juice. It was mixed with other veggie juice and maybe a fruit or two and I decided these ghastly but beautifully colored roots weren’t so bad. AND, I have learned that beets come in more shades than the vibrant red that is well known. There are golden beets which shine orangish yellow and Chioggia which resemble peppermint candy swirl of red and white stripes. Now, we have seeds to grow in our garden. The only constant is change!
These root vegetables are intriguing for many reasons. #1 They are practical. The bulbs and greens can be eaten. Rather than discarding the green leafs, try steaming or sauteing and adding to an array of leafy greens. #2 They are the most vibrant color (sometimes causing pee and poop to turn color as well). #3 They can be consumed raw, cooked, juiced, steamed, roasted, etc.
Largely known for cardio-vascular health, beets are an excellent source of heart-healthy folate & potassium (when eaten RAW) and a very good source of the antioxidants manganese and vitamin C. Beets are a good source of digestive-supportive dietary fiber, free radical scavenging copper, bone-healthy magnesium, and energy-producing iron and phosphorus. While research is largely in the early stage with respect to beet antioxidants and their special benefits for eye health and overall nerve tissue health, we expect to see study results showing these special benefits and recognizing beets as a standout vegetable in this area of antioxidant support. The unique phytonutrients in beets provide antioxidant support in a different way than other antioxidant-rich vegetables. These phytonutrients pertain to betalains (mainly found in red variety). Be warned though, these betalains tend to loose power with heat.
It’s interesting to note that humans appear to vary greatly in their response to dietary betalains. In the United States, only 10-15% of adults are estimated to be “betalain responders.” A betalain responder is a person who has the capacity to absorb and metabolize enough betalains from beet (and other foods) to gain full antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and Phase 2 triggering benefits. (Phase 2 is the second step in our cellular detoxification process). information cut from http://www.whfoods.com
Something that must be mentioned when dealing with beets is beeturia (a reddening of the urine and sometimes of the bowels).
An estimated 10-15% of all U.S. adults experience beeturia after consumption of beets in everyday amounts. While this phenomenon is not considered harmful in and of itself, it may be a possible indicator of the need for healthcare guidance in one particular set of circumstances involving problems with iron metabolism. Individuals with iron deficiency, iron excess, or specific problems with iron metabolism are much more likely to experience beeturia than individuals with healthy iron metabolism. For this reason, if you experience beeturia and have any reason to suspect iron-related problems, we recommend a healthcare consult to follow up on possible issues related to iron status. information cut from http://www.whfoods.com
Nutrients in Beets
1.00 cup raw (136.00 grams)
vitamin C 11.1%
To cook beets or to not cook beets….that is the question:
Studies have shown that the amount of folate can be dramatically decreased when heated. The difference between 15 minutes of steaming versus 25 minutes of steaming, or 60 minutes of roasting versus 90 minutes of roasting can be significant in terms of betalain damage. For these reasons, we recommend that you keep beet steaming times to 15 minutes or less, and roasting times under an hour.
Here are 2 recipes using beets (red) that we enjoy in our home:
PINK PANCAKES (from Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious)
Serves 3 or 4 little kids
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup beet puree *SEE BELOW FOR INSTRUCTIONS
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup pancake mix (could be done with gluten free mix)
1/4 cup grated apple
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
Pure maple syrup, fresh fruit, or jelly/preserves for serving
PREP: Leave them whole and unpeeled (trim stems to 1 inch)
COOK: Wrap in foil and roast at 400°f for about 1 hour (done when they can be pierced with tip of fork or knife)
PUREE: Peel after cooled enough to handle. Place in a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes.
1. In a blender or food processor, combine the water, ricotta cheese, beet puree, vanilla, and cinnamon and blend. Dump the mixture into a medium bowl, add the pancake mix and apple, and stir until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX – the batter will be a little lumpy.
2. Coat a griddle or large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. When hot, add the oil. Spoon the batter onto the griddle or skillet, using about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook the pancakes until bubbles form on top and the batter is set. Then flip the pancakes with a spatula and cook until golden brown on the other sir. Serve warm, with syrup or fruit.
BEET SALAD WITH FENNEL AND MINT
Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes
Prep notes: may want to wear gloves when dealing with beets
1 small fennel bulb
1 bunch mint leaves
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Place beets in a pot, cover with 1 inch with water and boil for 20-30 minutes, until a fork pierces easily through the middle of each beet.
- While beets are cooking, wash fennel and slice very thin.
- Chiffonade mint (chop into thin ribbons).
- Zest oranges and juice them into a bowl.
- When beets are cooked, drain them in the sink and rinse under cold water.
- Peel the skin off beets with hands and chop beets into1/4-inch thick, quarter rounds.
- Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
This salad is famous for converting non-beet eaters into beet lovers!