Veggie & Fruit of the Week

Beets

beet

 

Beets have been cultivated for thousands of years, since pre-historic times. They were originally grown only for their leaves, and it was not until the Roman empire, when people began eating the roots (main part of the beet). Many different varieties and colours of beets exist, like red, orange-yellow and white. The most common species of beets we see in the grocery stores have a unique crimson-red colour. Due to this rich, deep colour, beets have been used as natural dyes in food products for many years.

The deep colour of the beet means it is rich with nutrition. It is particularly high in folacin, Vitamin C and potassium. Folacin helps the body to form red blood cells, while Vitamin C helps build a healthy immune system to fight illnesses. Potassium helps your nerves function and muscles contract and it may also help regulate blood pressure.

Fun Fact!
10-15% of people are genetically unable to break down the betacyanin pigment in beets and therefore have a condition called beeturia. So, if you pass red or pink urine after eating beets or beet greens, do not be alarmed, it is a completely harmless condition!

 

Buying:

Look for firm, small to medium sized beets (up to 3 inches in diameter). They may be a little rough on the outside, but should be firm to touch. In the grocery store, beets are usually sold as just the roots, but at Farmer’s Markets, you will often see them sold with the greens still attached. The greens can also be eaten and are a great source of folacin and Vitamin C.

 

Storing:

Top beet greens should be used while they are still fresh, but the beetroot can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Loosely wrap in paper towel and keep in the crisper. Beets can also be stored in a root cellar or other cool location. 

 

Preparing:

Beet greens should be washed thoroughly under clean running water and rinsed well in order to remove any soil, sand and dirt. Beetroots can be scrubbed under running water to remove any traces of dirt and then dried off with a paper towel. Then simply peel off the tough outer layer with a vegetable peeler.

 

Cooking:

  • Beets can be baked in the oven (whole, cubed, peeled or sliced)
  • Beet greens are delicious steamed with a little bit of lemon juice and garlic
  • Beets can be eaten raw and shredded in a salad, along with carrots, cabbage, etc.
  • Small cubes can be steamed and served with a little bit of olive oil and parsley
  • Beets are also delicious when sliced into 1 inch thick slices and grilled on the BBQ
  • Beets can also be included in soups, stews and curries

 

Beets are in season July through April. So be on the lookout for beets in a grocery store near you starting next month!

 

Recipes!

Here are some creative ideas on how to include beets in your next meal!

Peach, Beet and Arugula Saladhttps://www.ontario.ca/foodland/recipes/peach-beet-and-arugula-salad

Colourful Layered Sandwichhttps://www.cookspiration.com/recipe.aspx?perma=38C5B5CAD02&g=10

 Add a little natural sweetness to sandwiches - this recipe uses cooked beets mashed up as a spread!

 

 

 

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