Beets are versatile and healthy root vegetables that may be used to add flavor, texture, and color to a variety of meals. Whether roasted, boiled, pickled, or grated raw, beets can be enjoyed in soups, salads, sandwiches, stews, and more.
Beets are a member of the Chenopodiaceae family, which also includes chard, quinoa, and spinach. They are believed to have originated in the Mediterranean and have been cultivated for thousands of years for their edible roots, leaves, and seeds. Beets come in a range of colors, including red, golden, and striped, and have a slightly sweet and earthy flavor. They contain antioxidants, folate, fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
Health benefits of Beets
- Lower blood pressure: Beets are high in nitrates, which can help to relax and dilate blood vessels, leading to lower blood pressure.
- Improve exercise performance: The nitrates in beets can also improve athletic performance by increasing blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles.
- Boost brain function: Beets are rich in betaine, a compound that can improve cognitive function and memory.
- Support digestion: Beets are a good source of fiber, which can promote healthy digestion and bowel regularity.
- Prevent cancer: Beets contain betalains, which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties.
International dishes using beets
Borscht: This traditional Russian soup is made with beets, cabbage, carrots, onions, and potatoes, and often includes sour cream and dill.
Roasted beet salad: This Mediterranean-inspired salad combines roasted beets with feta cheese, arugula, walnuts, and a balsamic vinaigrette.
Beet hummus: This Middle Eastern twist on traditional hummus adds roasted beets to the mix for a vibrant, pink-hued dip.
Beetroot curry: This spicy Indian dish features beets simmered in a tomato-based sauce with spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric.
Pickled beets: This classic American side dish is made by boiling beets with vinegar, sugar, and spices, and can be served cold or warm.
- Roast beets for maximum flavor: Roasting beets bring out their natural sweetness and intensify their flavor. Simply wrap whole beets in foil and bake in a 400°F oven for about an hour, or until tender.
- Use gloves when handling beets: Beets can stain your hands and clothes, so it’s a good idea to wear gloves when peeling and slicing them.
- Pair beets with complementary flavors: Beets pair well with tangy, salty, and earthy flavors. Try combining them with goat cheese, citrus, walnuts, or herbs like dill, parsley, or thyme.
- Don’t throw away the beet greens: Beet greens are edible and nutritious and can be sautéed, steamed, or added To soups and stews. They have a slightly bitter taste that pairs well with garlic, lemon, or vinegar.
- Use a food processor to grate beets: Grating beets by hand can be time-consuming and messy. A food processor with a grating attachment can make quick work of grating beets for salads, slaws, or latkes.
One cup (136 grams) of cooked beets contains the following nutrients:
Carbohydrates: 13 grams
Fiber: 3.8 grams
Protein: 2.2 grams
Fat: 0.2 grams
Vitamin C: 11% of the Daily Value (DV)
Folate: 37% of the DV
Potassium: 9% of the DV
Magnesium: 6% of the DV
Iron: 4% of the DV
- Store beets in the refrigerator: Beets can be stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Place them in a plastic bag to avoid them from drying out.
- Don’t wash beets before storing: Washing beets can cause them to spoil more quickly. Wait until you’re ready to use them to wash them.
- Cut off the greens: Beets should be stored without their greens, which can cause them to wilt and spoil more quickly.
- Freeze-cooked beets: Cooked beets can be frozen for up to six months. Simply slice or dice the cooked beets, place them in a freezer-safe container or bag, and freeze.
Whether you’re a fan of roasted beets, beet salads, or pickled beets, there are countless ways to incorporate this versatile root vegetable into your cooking. So next time you’re at the grocery store, grab some beets and get creative in the kitchen!