Each week, we shine the spotlight on an ingredient that is part of a healthy diet. This week, we’ll take a look at beets.
Q: What are beets?
A: These earthy-flavored red and yellow wonderfoods are used in everything from sweet salads to savory soups. Beets are the main ingredient in borscht, the traditional Russian soup may very well be responsible for the longevity of Russians as these colorful root vegetables contain nutrient compounds that help protect against both heart disease and some cancers.
Q: When should I look for beets?
A: Beets are available year-round with peak beet-buying months June through October.
Q: How should I pick beets?
A: At the farmer’s market, search for a blemish-free beet a few inches around with dark red or golden yellow skin. Don’t judge a beet by its greens, but if you want to cook the greens, look for bright color and tender leaves.
Q: What are the health benefits of beets?
A: Beets are bursting with vitamin C, and they are also rich in folate. The bigger news with beets? Phytonutrients (nutrients found in plants that also give them their color) called betalains, which have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support.
Q: How do I store beets?
A: Separate the beets from the leaves to prevent spoilage of the root, and store them unwashed in bags in the vegetable compartment. The roots should stay fresh for up to three weeks.
Q: How do you eat beets?
A: The less cooking the better, as heat diminishes beat’s concentration of phytonutrients. Peel and lightly steam or boil them, or try roasting them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes to bring out even more of their sweet disposition.
Q: How do I get my kids to like beets?
A: Sliver bright red and yellow beets over a salad for a colorful garnish that even kids will like. Or, fool them by replacing the “T” in the traditional “BLT” with a fresh or roasted beet. BLB? Sound good to us!