Vegetable Profile: Beets (Beta vulgaris)
Beets are curious creatures. Their secret sweet flavorful goodness comes out best when roasted in coconut or other stable saturated fat, and in fact they boast some of the highest sugar content of all the vegetables. Wild beets still grow in the Mediterranean where they originated, but today we enjoy many varieties of cultivated beets, from the beautifully stripped chioggia, to the golden beet, to the classic Detroit dark red. There may be no other vegetable as misunderstood, nor as beautifying to the plate, as the beet.
You might notice that after a healthy helping of beets, that you have some pink-tinted urine OR stools. Not to gross you out, but check it out: according to Dr Jeffery Bland, PhD, pink urine may indicate an iron deficiency, while magenta stool indicates adequate iron levels. Who knew! But what traditional healers who used beets knew, that science is now able to validate, is that beets support the blood and nourish the heart, liver, and large intestine, and kidneys. They also promote healthy menstruation, and the ancient Romans belived them to be an aphrodisiac. Today, we know they are high in boron, which is a mineral critical for the production of human sex hormones. Beet greens are also high in calcium, vitamin K, folic acid, and iron.
Unbruised peppers can store well in the fridge without getting soft for up to a week. Once you bruise or cut into one, it should be used within 2 days.
Cooked: Cook with the skin on. Toss in a generous amount of fat and roast in the oven at 400 degrees until tender.
Fermented: Beets rich sugar content makes them excellent food for beneficial microbes. I like to make a salt brine, cube them, and mix them with onions and ferment for a week for a fermented beet relish. Stores in the fridge and stays crisp for YEARS.
Pickled: Beets complement vinegar brine very well.
In soup: Borscht is a classic dish to make with beets.
Beet greens may be substituted for chard in recipes.
The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood
Asparagus to Zucchini by Fairshare Coalition
Produce: A fruit and vegetable lover's guide by Bruce Beck
Our own experience!