Beets

Boost energy because they are so high in natural sugars

Season - Peaks in late spring, through summer to early fall

Selection - Choose smaller beets over large, bunches of similar size, and bright greens attached to roots. Avoid large beets, soft and moist to touch, or shriveled

Flavor complements - Cayenne pepper, tarragon, vinegar, lemon juice, oranges, horseradish, yogurt, sour cream, goat cheese

Storage - Remove all but two inches of the greens and stems from the roots, so they do not pull away moisture away from the root, but enough left attached to prevent the roots from "bleeding." Refrigerate, unwashed in a plastic bag, 2 to 4 weeks.

Refrigerate greens in separate plastic bag for 2 to 4 days.

Raw beets do not freeze well since they tend to become soft upon thawing. Freezing cooked beets is fine; they'll retain their flavor and texture.

Preparation for cooking - Wash and trim stems and roots. Peel skin and grate to serve raw or roast 45 minutes at 375ยบ. Slip off skin when cool. Prepare the leaves as you would spinach.

Quick fixes - Slice and arrange 5 roasted beets and 2 fresh, peeled oranges. Sprinkle with 1 T chopped parsley. Drizzle lightly with 1 T olive oil and 2 tsp red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Balsamic Beets with Toasted Nuts

4 servings, Prep 5 min Cook 10 min
3 tbs chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons butter or margarine
3 medium beets, steamed, peeled, and sliced

  1. In medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, toast nuts, stirring often, until browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to plate.
  2. In same skillet over medium-low heat, cook vinegar, sugar, and butter. Add beets. Cook, stirring often, until beets are heated through and all liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Top with nuts. Serve at once.

Per serving: 80 calories, 2g protein, 10g carbohydrates, 4g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 80mg sodium 2% Daily Value* Vitamin A, 5% Vitamin C, 2% Calcium, 4% Iron *Based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Spicy Balsamic Beets

Serves 6, Time to Prepare: 1 hour (incl cook time)

1 ½ lbs beets, tops removed
1 ½ teaspoons freshly grated horseradish
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey

Place whole unpeeled beets in a pot of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 40 minutes. Drain beets, run under cold water and slip off skins. Trim ends and slice. Place in a bowl. Whisk together vinegars, honey, horseradish, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over beets; toss to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Avocado and Beet Salad

Serves 8, Time to Prepare: 15 minutes

¼ cup Italian Dressing
¼ cup orange juice
8 medium beets, roasted, peeled and cut into wedges
4 medium avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Mix dressing and orange juice in large bowl. Add beets; toss to coat. Set aside. Arrange avocados on serving platter; top with onions and beet mixture. Sprinkle with parsley and orange peel.

Rosemary and Garlic Infused Beets

Serves 4, Time to Prepare: 45 minutes

2 pounds of Red or Golden Beets, scrubbed clean and cut into small cubes
1 small Onion, diced
1 sprig of Rosemary
4 cloves Garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

Add the cubed Beets to boiling water and blanch for about 8 minutes and then remove to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. After about 4 minutes, drain the water from the bowl and add in the Onion, Rosemary, garlic, Olive Oil, a pinch of Salt, and Cracked Pepper and toss to coat. Place the mixture on a doubled sheet of foil and fold the foil to make a pouch around the Beets. Place this on the barbeque or in an oven at 400 degrees and cook for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the heat, open, and serve warm.

Fun to Know

If you start to see red when you increase your consumption of beets, don't be alarmed. You're just experiencing beeturia, or a red or pink color to your urine or stool. No need to panic; the condition is harmless.

Beets' color can be modified during cooking. Adding an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice or vinegar will brighten the color while an alkaline substance such as baking soda will often cause them to turn a deeper purple. Salt will blunt beets' color, so add only at the end of cooking if needed.

Since beet juice can stain your skin, wearing kitchen gloves is a good idea when handling beets. If your hands become stained during the cleaning and cooking process, simply rubbing some lemon juice on them will remove the stain.

Nutritional Profile: Beets are an excellent source of folate, and a very good source of manganese and potassium. Beets are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus.

Sources:
www.whfoods.com
Archibald, A Faughey, E. The Produce Partner. Food Fan Guides, 2005.