Sunday, August 16, 2009

Exciting Vegetable of the Week!


What is it?
The Garden Beet is a root vegetable easily grown by novice gardeners. The entire plant can be consumed, which is fantastic. Most people are familiar with pickled beets or canned beets, and that is unfortunate. Hopefully some of you will take the steps into uncomfortable territory and test these veggies out. Beets date back to prehistoric times, and can be eaten raw, unlike potatoes.

Why should I eat it?
Beets are in the same family as spinach and chard (last week's superstar), and share similar health benefits. Read all about them here! Beets are an excellent source of the B vitamin, folate, and a very good source of manganese and potassium. Beets are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus.

How should I cook it?
Beets have a very sugary, earthy taste to them and that should be considered when pairing with meat. Lamb and pork are my personal favorites, chicken is a little light in flavor and gets a little lost next to the robustness of the beet. Try it out and see what you think....

  • Trim the stems (save for salads!) and the bottom root, quarter and place in a roasting pan with a little water for steam. Heat the oven to 425 degrees and roast for 30-45 minutes until they can be pierced easily with a fork.

  • Steam them on the stove top

  • *After the beets have been cooked, add them to a salad, or serve next to pork or steak. My personal favorite is tossed with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and shallots.

    Need a hearty dose of vegetable medicine? You have two options...

    Eat the beets raw:

    * 4 medium beets (about 1 pound without greens)
    * 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
    * 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
    * 1 medium garlic clove, minced
    * Salt
    * Freshly ground black pepper
    * 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    * 2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon or parsley leaves

    Trim the stems and any dangling roots from the beets. Remove the skins from the beets with a vegetable peeler. Using the shredding disk on the food processor or the large holes on a box grater to shred the beets. Transfer them to a medium serving bowl.

    Whisk together in a small bowl the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Whisk in the olive oil. Whisk in the tarragon and adjust the seasonings.

    Drizzle the dressing over the shredded beets. Toss to coat the beets with the dressing. Serve salad immediately.


    If you do not have a juicer, stop reading this and go buy one immediately, or at least before the seasons start changing. There is nothing more healing than a big strong swig of spinach/beet/chard/carrot juice. Feeling a little crazy? Add some garlic. Whew, it's making me sweat just thinking about it....

    The stems are great for salads, or steamed like spinach.

    How does this fit in with the Zone?
    Beets are considered to be an "unfavorable carbohydrate" in the Zone world, due to their high sugar content. I have always felt as though their health benefits outweighed the sugar content and eat them in moderation. Due to their being edible in a raw state, paleo gurus don't seem to have a problem with them. 1/2c of beets is one block of carb in the Zone diet, which is typically plenty.

    **Important** 24-48 hours AFTER eating the beets, your urine will be pink or red. Don't freak out, it only last for a couple of trips to the bathroom and then the dye is out of your system.

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