You may be someone who sees beets — that colorful, round veggie — while in line at the salad bar and skips over them. Try them! Add beets to your meal for more color, flavor, and nutrients. At home, try out the different ways you can prepare them. Winter is a prime time for beets, and the good news is, they’re versatile. Many people like to fry, pickle, steam, juice, boil or cook them in the pressure cooker. Take your pick!
History of the Beet
The beetroot is a taproot, meaning the part we eat is the largest, most central, and most dominant root from which other roots sprout laterally. Beets were first cultivated for human consumption in Germany and Italy in the 1500s and selectively bred over time to take on the bulbous shape we now recognize.
The beet’s popularity grew in Northern and Eastern Europe because it grew so well through harsh winters. Interestingly, the typical blood-red color was only selected and bred for in the mid-18th century.
Beets boast an impressive nutritional profile. These colorful veggies are low in calories, yet high in vitamins and minerals. Health benefits include regulating blood pressure, improving athletic performance, and fighting inflammation.
Beets have nitrates, which helps to increase blood flow to the brain. While no studies have directly tested the effects of beets on weight, it’s likely that adding beets to your diet can aid in weight loss.
A Range of Varieties
While blood-red beets are common, there is a wide variety of beets with different characteristics.
There is Cylindra, grown for its long, cylindrical shape; Touchstone Gold, with small yellow roots; Green Top Bunching, with bright red roots and superior greens; Golden, known for their buttery yellow color and sweeter, mild flavor; and Chioggia, an Italian heirloom with striped red and white interior.
Try this simple beet recipe to add beets to your next meal. Bon appetit!
- 1medium beet
- 3cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2cuppine nuts, toasted
- 1/2cuplow fat parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- 1/4cupsesame oil (you can also use olive oil)
- Roast the beet in the oven until soft (this can be done ahead of time). Once cooked, peel the beet.
- In a food processor or blender, combine the beet, garlic, pine nuts, cheese, salt, and pepper until smooth. While the food processor is turned on, slowly add the oil until slightly more liquid.