Friday, September 26, 2014

Beets 101

The Beet is the taproot and is the edible portion, as well as the greens, of the Beet plant. Originally from North Africa it is a relative of Swiss Chard. Beets are also a cool weather vegetable crop. The taproot becomes hard in warmer weather. The most common variety is  reddish-purple in color but beets can also be white, golden and even rainbow colored. Sugar Beets account for a third of the worlds sugar supply. To learn more about Beet varieties click here and here. In the Middle Ages the Beetroot was used to treat illnesses of the blood and of digestion and the Victorians used Beets to dye their hair. Pickled Beets are a traditional food in South America and are served on hamburgers in Australia, New Zealand and in the United Arab Emirates. Click here for more fun facts about beets. For more about beets click here

To Store

Beets will stay fresh for a long time if they are stored properly. Never wash beets before storage. Beets will stay fresh for 3 to 5 days with the greens attached. They will last 2 to 4 weeks with the greens removed, as the greens will pull moisture from the root. When cutting the greens from the Beetroot leave one inch of stem to prevent bleedingin the cooking process. The greens will need to be eaten in a few days or they will begin to deteriorate. To learn more about longer storage for root vegetables including Beets click here

To Nourish

Beets are a good source of Vitamin C, Fiber, and Potassium and an excellent source of Manganese and Folate. They are also one of the few sources of Betalains, which are Phytochemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Click here to learn more about the health benefits of Beets. 

To Prepare
Beets can be eaten raw but taste sweeter when cooked. Beets are often pickled. The largest portion of Beets grown are used for pickling in commercial production. Several cooking methods apply to Beets. They can be boiled, steamed, grilled and roasted to name a few. To learn more about cooking with Beets click here

To Try

Caramelized Beetroot Tarte Tatin 

To Use

Everything about this user-friendly OXO V-Blade Mandoline is easy to manage, including your results. Designed for safety, efficiency and ease of use, it produces a variety of popular cuts for cooking and garnishing foods. Makes perfect crinkle and straight cuts in four thicknesses: 1.5mm, 3mm, 4.5mm and 6mm. Four additional blades create two sizes of julienne and cubes. (Williams-Sonoma, $39.95)