You’d think with that burst of crimson colour and the sweet taste, beets would be the queen of winter vegetables. How many other vegetable can you think of where you can eat the tops and the bottoms? Beet greens can be added to soups or salads or made into a side dish when sautéed with oil and garlic and the beets can be enjoyed in so many ways. It’s like getting two vegetables for the price of one. And apart from the red and golden varieties, you can also get a striped candy cane variety adding more interest and colour to your plate.
Why then, do potatoes get so much real estate on the grocery floor compared to those gorgeous beets? I think it all comes down to not knowing what the heck to do with beets! Learn to love the taste and appreciate the goodness of beets.
5 Fab ways to love beets:
- No time to cook beets? Add raw, peeled and grated beets to sandwiches and wraps. Grate beets in the sink for less mess and use lemon juice to remove stains on hands and cutting boards.
- For those long, curly, stringy shapes you see in restaurants, use a spiralzer. Top salads or glam up your plate with beets as a garnish. Kids get a kick out of the funky shape too.
- New to beets? Try them alongside familiar foods. Add diced, cooked beets to simmering soups or salads when winter tomatoes just don’t cut it. Here’s a simple salad idea. Try apple, spinach, walnut, beet combo with a maple vinaigrette. Get recipe. Tip: Add beets last or you’ll get that red beet juice over the other vegetables. Spinach, orange segments, dried cranberries, pecans, feta or goat cheese and beets is another winning salad combo. Winter salads boring? No way!
- Use sliced pickled beets in sandwiches just like you would a slice of tomato. Sunshine Farms brand offers Ontario pickled beets.
- Make crispy veggie chips using, yes, beets. Get recipe. Tip: It takes a while for beets to get crispy because they have lots of moisture so plan to make these on a weekend when you have more time.
Why eat beets?
- Healthy Weights. Beets, like other vegetables, add bulk helping us to feel full on just 40 calories per ½ cup.
- Heart Health. The soluble fibre in beets helps to lower blood cholesterol and beets reduce inflammation.
- Red blood cells. Folate is a vitamin found in beets and we use it use to make red blood cells.
- Cancer prevention. The crimson colour is what gives beets it’s antioxidant power.
Choose small to medium-size (3 inches) beets, they’re more tender than larger ones. Taut skin and crisp leaves are signs of freshness. Look for no, or lower sodium canned or pickled beets.
Cut any beet greens two inches from the beets. That stops the leaves from drawing water out of the beets, keeping your beets fresher, longer. Loosely wrap unwashed beets in paper towel and store in the fridge for a week or for 3-5 days once cooked. Cooked beets can also be frozen for 10 months. That’s good to know if you’re like me and get all excited going to a farmers’ market and buy way more than you need (There are only so many beets a gal can eat!). Roast, peel and dice (in small pieces, they’ll defrost quicker) and freeze in one cup portions ready to use in soups and salads.
Wait to wash your beets until just before you’re ready to use them. Gently scrub beets under running water to loosen and remove any dirt without tearing the skin, unless you want beet juice everywhere!
No time to cook beets. Enjoy the crunch and sweet taste of raw beets.
Roast extra beets and store in the fridge to get a head start on a side dish for dinner or add to lunches or soups. Roasting intensifies the sweet taste. You can roast beets whole, sliced or diced.
Pickled and canned beets are convenient. Choose lower sodium options.
How are you loving your beets? Care to share a recipe, idea or tip?