October 9, 2013
Beets are one of those foods that I almost never ate as a child. I don’t know why, but for some reason my mother never cooked them, except once in a while in borscht. I really like beets now as an adult, and find myself cooking them quite often.
Beets are good to eat because they are low in calories and contain vitamins and minerals including folate, vitamin C and potassium. Beets also contain phytonutrients called betalains which have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. You have to be a little careful when you cook beets because as they cook, they lose some of the betalains.
To prepare beets start by cutting off the greens about 1 inch from the bulb. Don’t throw the greens away! They are delicious steamed with a little olive oil and some seasoning.
Wash the beets thoroughly and place in a roasting pan with a little water Cover the pan with foil and roast in a 400-450 degree oven until they are soft and you can easily pierce them with a knife. When you take them from the oven, allow them to cool to the touch, and then you can easily slip off the skins (wear disposable gloves), and they are ready to use. I often cook ahead so I’ll roast the beets while I’m making dinner or doing some other work in the kitchen.
When they are done, allow them to cool, peel them, and store them in the refrigerator wrapped until you are ready to use.
You can eat the beets by themselves, or use them in a salad. They make a colorful addition to the menu for an early fall picnic or tailgate party. Here’s an easy beet and citrus salad I made for dinner tonight. I’m going to pack it for lunch tomorrow too (it’s nice to get another meal out of a recipe when you cook in the evening).
Beet and Citrus Salad
4 cooked beets – cooled
1 navel orange – sectioned into 1” pieces
1 small handful of fresh parsley – chopped
2 celery stalks – chopped
1” thin slice of lemon rind chopped fine
½ tsp. coriander
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
Pepper* to taste
Slice cooked cooled beets. Gently mix beets with chopped celery, all seasonings, olive oil, balsamic vinegar. Add orange pieces and fresh parsley and lightly mix. Adjust seasonings if needed. Serve and enjoy!
*Add a little dash of salt, if needed for flavor…
There a many variations of this salad – do you have a favorite? Please send it along — I’d love to try it myself…