Beautiful Beets

beets

The beautiful beet…(Beta vulgaris) is a species of flowering plant in the family Amaranthaceae. Economically, it is amost important crop, having several subgroups: the sugar beet, of greatest importance to produce table sugar; the root vegetable known as the beetroot or garden beet; the leaf vegetable known as chard or spinach beet; and mangelwurzel, which is a fodder crop.  The wild ancestor of the cultivated beets is the sea beet.

Spinach beet leaves (or chard) are eaten as a leaf vegetable. Young leaves of the garden beet are sometimes used similarly. The midribs of Swiss chard are eaten boiled, while the whole leaf blades are eaten like spinach.

The usually deep-red roots of garden beets can be baked, boiled, or steamed, and served hot or cold. They are also pickled. Raw beets are added to salads. In Eastern Europe beet soup, hot or cold borsch, is a popular dish.

Beets are traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year). Its Aramaic name סלקא sounds like the word for “remove” or “depart”; it is eaten with a prayer “that our enemies be removed”.

Beet greens and Swiss chard are both considered high oxalate foods which are implicated in the formation of kidney stones. Ancient Romans used beetroot as a treatment for fevers and constipation, amongst other ailments.  Platina recommended taking beetroot with garlic to nullify the effects of ‘garlic-breath’.

Nutrition

In a 100 gram amount, beets supply 43 Calories, contain 88% water, 10% carbohydrates, about 2% protein and have a minute amount of fat. The only micronutrients of significant content are folate (27% of the Daily Value) and manganese (16% DV).

Recipes

Beet, Orange, and Goat Cheese Quinoa Salad with curry vinaigrette

Beet Risotto

Pickled Beets

Tomato Beet Salad

Candied Beets

Refreshing Beet Lemonade

Granny’s Borscht

Beetroot Pasta Sauce

Everything you always wanted to know about beets