I remember as a kid I thought beets tasted like dirt, therefore I didn’t like them. At some point in my young adult I-want-to-be-a-gardener stage I began to develop a taste for them. Now I love them.
Our preferences for flavors and foods have the ability to change, we can even train our pallet to prefer different foods. If you’re pretty sure you don’t like beets you may want to try again considering that nutritionally they are a great addition to integrate into your food plans. Also, in terms of taste and enjoyment, there may be a way to prepare them that will turn you into a happy beet eater.
- are good for your liver
- help to balance blood sugar
- benefit the blood, brain and circulation
- are a beautiful color to look at
- are earthy and sweet in flavor
Do you know your farmer?
From seed to plate beet roots take about 60 days to be ready to harvest. As a crop their above ground greens are edible and so are their below ground roots. Depending on your local growing climate and the savvy of your farmers – it’s possible to buy fresh, locally grown beets in the spring, summer and autumn. Farmers often have larger amounts of beets in the fall. It is possible to buy a good portion of your winter beets from your favorite local farm and store them in your home.
Storage – waste not want not!
Store beets in the refrigerator, greens and stalks thoroughly removed, in a perforated plastic bag, in the vegetable crisper drawer. Stored in this fashion beet roots will keep in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 months.
If you want more beet root than you have room for in the refrigerator, they can also be overwintered in a container such as a bucket, plastic storage box or cooler. Pack the roots in moist sand, peat moss, or sawdust. Don’t pack roots too tightly – if the roots touch they can start to rot. Be sure to leave 2 inches of insulating material around at the top, bottom, and sides of the stored roots. Set the lid loosely so that there is good air circulation and place the container in a cold place (but not terribly freezing) such as a basement or a garage or shed in some climates.
Eating Beets in Spring
Understanding the season: Favor “light” styles of cooking and warm, not raw or cold foods. Eat less dairy, nuts and fats this time of year. Favor bitter, pungent (warming spice) and astringent tastes.
Steamed Spiced Beets: Peel a whole beet(s), removing as little of the bitter outer skin as possible. Cut the round into quarters. Slice the quarters into 1/4 inch pieces. Steam the slices until they are just tender. Place the warm, steamed slices into a mixing bowl, squeeze fresh orange juice over the beets. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Grate a bit of fresh ginger over top of the beets. Mix it all together. You may eat them warm or let them cool to enjoy later.
More of a meal: Serve steamed beets over top a plate of sauteed beet greens dressed with balsamic vinegar. Top with goat cheese crumbles, pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds.
Eating Beets in Summer
Understanding the season: This is the best time of year to eat raw foods. Favor foods with cooling qualities like mint, rose, lime, cucumbers and coconuts. Avoid heavy foods with acidic and heating qualities.
Raw Beet Salad with Cilantro and Lime: Peel a whole beet being careful to remove as little of the outside skin as possible. Use a food grater or food processor to shred the beets. Place grated beets into a mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice of a lime over top. Lightly salt. Add a small amount of avocado oil. Mix everything together using the back of the spoon to press the beets up against the bowl, breaking them down a bit. Toss in some chopped fresh cilantro. Serve or store for later.
More of a meal: Heat organic corn tortillas (I like sprouted corn tortillas the best) to your liking. Spread some goat Chevre down the center of the tortilla top with the beet salad. Eat it like a soft taco. Go ahead, have 3 or more.
Eating Beets in Autumn and Winter
Understanding the Season: Autumn brings us dryness, change and wind. To counter the effects the season has on our body it’s good to eat more high quality fats than we would at other times of the year, deliciously sweet root veggies, spices that warm the body and fruits that are falling from the trees like apples, pears and plums.
Roasted Beets with Apples and Cumin: Peel quarter and slice the beets, place them into a large mixing bowl. Add a bit of melted ghee or coconut oil. Sprinkle on a bit of salt and some whole cumin seeds. Toss the mixture so that everything is well coated. Place in the oven on a baking sheet at 375 – 400 degrees. While the beets are beginning their roasting time, quarter and core an apple, slice the quarters into 1/2 inch chunks. After the beets have roasted for 20 minutes add the apple slices and stir, continue roasting. Check and stir again after 10 more minutes. Roast until beets are tender to your liking.
More of meal: Serve the roasted roots and apples over top of a massaged kale salad or a bowl of quinoa, or both. Top with a sprinkling of pecans or another favorite nut.