Forget the notion of canned beets. Ban the memory of that experience from your culinary vocabulary and read on!
Beets are simply amazing. Once cooked, they are incredibly sweet and buttery. Paired with a simple balsamic vinaigrette they are irresistible. I often make up a large batch of marinated beets and use them on salads (think arugula, feta and a few nuts) or just as a snack. This week, pick up some beets and try them. You’ll be surprised and you just may have a new favorite.
Beets come in a variety of colors including red, white, golden, pink and even candy cane stripes (chioggia beets)! Choose small to medium beets that are unblemished. Look for bright, perfect green tops (the greens are edible and can be sautéed with shallots or other flavors and used as a side dish.)
To use the beet root, wash well, remove all but 2 inches of stem, and then continue with the recipe. Leaving a small amount of the stem in place will keep the beets from “bleeding” and depleting their nutrients.
Why Eat Beets?
According to WHFoods.com: “The combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecules in beets makes this food a highly-likely candidate for risk reduction of many cancer types. Lab studies on human tumor cells have confirmed this possibility for colon, stomach, nerve, lung, breast, prostate and testicular cancers. Eventually, we expect to see large-scale human studies that show the risk-reducing effect of dietary beet intake for many of these cancer types.”
Raw or slightly cooked beets retain more nutrients than well done beets. As you add this vegetable to your diet, you may want to experiment with cooking techniques to see what you prefer. To maximize nutrition, beets can also be added to a raw vegetable juice. If you juice, be sure to include the greens!
A Basic Beet Salad
This is a great recipe demonstrating a basic beet cooking and peeling technique with an interesting presentation. For something simpler, simply roast the beets, slice them, and toss in your favorite vinaigrette. If you’re feeling a bit inspired, follow through on this elegant presentation: