Nutrition Fun Facts: Beets naturally possess an ion known as nitrate that helps support healthy blood pressure in humans (3). This vegetable is also a good source of folate, a crucial vitamin for new cell development. Amazingly, the scarlet dye given off by red beets, known as betanin, contains an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage (2).
Storage Tips: Place unwashed beets in a tightly sealed bag in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or longer if kept cool and dry. If leafy tops are still attached, cut down to approximately ½ inch before storing to prevent moisture from being drained out of the bulb. Store beet tops in their own bag and use within 2-4 days.
Preparation Tips: Beets can be consumed raw, but taste the sweetest when roasted, grilled or steamed. For tender, sweet beets, cut the tops and tap root off, wrap in foil, drizzle a small amount of oil, and roast in oven or on the grill at medium high until tender when poked with a fork (20 minutes- 1 hour depending on size). Once cooled, peel the skin by rubbing with your fingers, it should fall right off. Cut beets into cubes or slivers and store in the fridge to add to meals throughout the week. Roasted beets are a great addition to salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, risottos and more. Boiling beets strips them of many valuable nutrients, so avoid when possible.
Recipe: Roasted Beets and Blue Cheese Salad
• 1 bunch beets (4-5 medium/large, 6-12 baby)
• 1/4 cup cider vinegar
• 1 Tbsp sugar
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
• Salt and pepper
• Salad mix
• 1-2 ounces blue cheese crumbles
• ¼ cup toasted walnuts
1. Remove greens from beets, save for future use (see beet greens recipe). Scrub the beets free of any dirt.
2. Rub the beets with olive oil and wrap them in foil (you can wrap them all together, no need to wrap them individually). Roast in a 400°F oven for an hour or until they are easily pierced with a fork. Let them cool to the touch.
3. Use your fingers to slip the peels off of the beets. The peels should come off easily. Discard the peels. Quarter or slice the beets.
4 Make the vinaigrette by combining the cider vinegar, sugar, olive oil, and dry mustard. Whisk ingredients together with a fork. The dry mustard will help to emulsify the vinaigrette. Adjust to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Combine beets and vinaigrette in a bowl and allow to marinate for a half hour at room temperature.
5. Add marinated beets to a bed of mixed greens with blue cheese and toasted walnuts and serve.
1. Five Things Everyone Should Know About...Beets. GROW: Wisconsin College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Retrieved from http://grow.cals.wisc.edu/agriculture/five-things-everyone-shoud-know-about-beets
2. Kanner, J., Harel, S., & Granit, R. Betalains--a new class of dietary cationized antioxidants. American Chemical Society. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11714300
3. Want to Be Fast on Your Feet? Eat Beets! Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. from http://www.eatright.org/resource/fitness/sports-and-performance/tips-for-athletes/want-to-be-fast-on-your-feet-eat-beets