Beets are hard to beat in the nutrition category – you can tell by their gorgeous color that they’re great for your health! They’re -packed with good-for-you calcium, sodium, vitamin A, chlorine, sulfur, B6, iron, potassium, choline and folate. It’s easy to grow your own beets; they’re not very picky about soil and sunlight.
There are lots of ways to prepare beets, including juicing, pickling, broiling, roasting and slicing or grating them into salads. They taste sweet because they are naturally high in sugar, but they’re low in calories – and very filling.
Some more ideas on how to enjoy beets:
- Grate beets, add fresh herbs like parsley, mint and/or cilantro, then dress with equal parts lemon and orange juice, plus some oil and salt.
- Scrub, peel and slice raw beets then, then toss with chili pepper and lemon.
- Cut beets into wedges or slices, coat with olive oil and a bit of sea salt, lay flat on a baking sheet and roast 10 minutes at 425.
BEET BUYING ADVICE: Choose beets that are smooth and firm. If you aren’t going to eat them right away, cut the greens off and store them separately, in plastic bags, in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. They’ll last a couple of weeks.
Another great thing about beets – though most people cut the green tops off and throw them out, they’re delicious too. Beet greens are a lot like chard. They’re delicious sautéed in a bit of oil and garlic and can be served with pasta, in a salad or as a side dish.
Fairgate Farm Recipe: ROASTED BEET HUMMUS
At our recent Fairgate Farm “Farm-to-Table” Workshops, Stamford Hospital Population Health Dietitian/Chef Gavin Pritchard taught us how to make beet hummus.
What you need:
- 1 medium-sized beet, peeled
- 1 or 2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 15-ounce can (1 3/4 cup) chickpeas, drained
- Pinch of salt and black, to taste
- Zest + juice of one medium-sized lemon
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Optional: 2 tablespoons of tahini
What you do:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Wash beet well and, with garlic, place on a sheet of foil and then (leaving room for hot air to circulate inside) bring up the sides of the foil to create a packet. Bake for 45 minutes, then cool.
- Place all the ingredients into a blender or food processor — or use a large spoon or a mortar and pestle to smash it to the consistency you like.
- Serve as a dip, with sliced fresh vegetables, such as cucumbers, celery or carrots.
- Take a picture! It’s so pretty … and enjoy it!