If you cringe when you think about beets, then you’re in for a treat, which may just change your mind. For years, I hated beets. I had only tried the pickled variety, which my grandmother passed around at holiday dinners/ I obediently took one and then tried to hide it under my napkin when I disposed of my plate after I had finished eating. To me, it had the texture of a wet fish.
Fast forward to fifteen years ago. We joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) program. One week, there were beets in our box. My husband broke into gleeful shouts of joy. As it tuns out, the man I had been married to for two decades had a secret love for beets. Who knew?!
Since I deeply respect my husband (and his tastebuds), I decided to give this deep, ruby-colored vegetable another try. I’m so glad I did!
This post is sponsored by Garden Spot Vegetable Farm. Located in Princeville, Illinois, owner, Jim Buckley and his family, cultivate 34 acres of vegetables and 375 fruit trees. Garden Spot is a no-spray farm, offering a variety of CSA packages. Check their Facebook page for current programs and options for available produce.
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What’s so great about beets?
Let’s look at the nutritional profile of beets.
- Serving size – 1 cup
- Folate = 34%
- Manganese = 24%
- Fiber = 3.4 grams
- No cholesterol
- High levels of antioxidants
- Detoxifies blood
- Lowers Blood pressure
How to Pick a Beet
Small or medium-sized beets are easier to handle and tend to be less fibrous than larger beets. When using the larger ones, I quarter and wrap them in foil before roasting, to encourage even cooking. Avoid beets that are shriveled, pitted, or discolored.
Look for beets with greens still attached. The greens are not only delicious, they are incredibly nutritious. You really should stop wasting greens.
Storing Beets (and Beet Greens)
Remove the greens, leaving a couple of inches of stem on the beet. This keeps them from “bleeding” all over your refrigerator.
Pop beets into the crisper drawer, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag. I use a leftover supermarket bag and allow for some air to get into the top of the bag.
They will keep fresh for 1-3 months. You can keep the on the counter, but this will decrease their freshness more quickly.
Treat the greens as you would lettuce or other leafy green. Wash them, pay dry, and store in a plastic bag, allowing room at the top for a bit of air flow. They will keep fresh for up to two weeks.
Oven-Roasted Beet Packets
I created this method of roasting beets to eliminate much of the red mess on pans and kids’ clothing. As an added bonus, children love getting their own, personal packet of beets to put on their plate.
Simply wash and cut beets. Then, set on large squares of foil. If the beets are large, quarter them. Use 1 cup of beets per square of foil Fold foil over to form a packet. Place, seam side up, on baking pan. Roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Beets are done with pierced easily with a fork.
This recipe for beet burgers comes from my friend, Faith. She is brilliant with colors and flavors. My kids BEG me to make these burgers. When you roast beets, simply keep a couple back to make these burger the next day. Take my advice: Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers. You’ll thank me later.
Don’t discard those beet greens!
Cut them into bite-sized pieces and saute them with a little water until bright green. The greens will wilt as you cook them. Don’t worry! It’s normal for them to get much smaller. You can add some onion and garlic to the pan at the beginning of the cooking process if you want and then add the beet greens after the onions and garlic are softened.
Honestly, I just like them cooked plain. You can add a splash of lemon juice to the finished greens, or (as we did in my childhood) a splash of vinegar. Don’t overcook them or they will get mushy.
Beet Green Recipes
This easy weeknight skillet recipe comes from a website that I recently discovered: Healthy Slow Cooking. Author, Kathy Hester, is a genius when it comes to putting spice mixtures together to create new and interesting dishes.
Kathy says to make this recipe with kale. But, shhhh… Don’t tell her, but it works with beet greens as well. This simple, weeknight meal goes together in about 30 minutes.
Smoky White Bean Soup is easily one of my most requested recipes. It’s perfect for assembling before you walk out the door to head to work. After a few hours in the slow-cooker, your house will smell amazing.
Open the crockpot, add 4 cups of fresh, chopped beet greens to the finished soup, replace the lid, and wait 15 minutes. The greens will be perfectly wilted and dinner will be served. Pair it with homemade cornbread muffins and you have a cold day winner of a dinner.
If you love the smoky flavor of the black eyed peas, you’ll enjoy this “Southern at heart” soup. The greens added to the depth of flavor nicely.
Incredibly creamy with that amazing yellow color, I got requests for seconds on this red lentil soup. Every family member asked me to make it again – soon!