To wrap up there are just a few more important things to consider when choosing and preparing beets.
First, picking out the best beets. For all those gardeners out there, freshly picked beets will keep for months not washed in the refrigerator.
However if you are going to the store the best beets to pick are usually those with the leafy greens still attached. This is a sure sign of freshness. Make sure not to throw away those fresh leaf greens! They are great to add raw to a salad or saute or even make chips out of. (See the recipe below.)
If using the greens cut just 1 inch above the stem, wash and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. The greens are pretty hearty and will store for a couple of weeks. (Leaving an inch of the stem on helps to keep the beets from bleeding.)
The beet root itself can be stored loosely in plastic in the refrigerator. The longer beets are stored they become less sweet and the skin is tougher to deal with.
The size of beets may make a difference. Smaller ones tend to be a little sweeter but harder to peel. Very large ones can be less tender so look for medium sized beets when shopping.
When ready to use, I scrub the beets with a potato brush. Do not remove the skins until after cooking. This helps to keep some nutrients. To remove the skin I used a paper towel to gently pull the skins off once the beets have cooled enough to handle. This saves my hands from turning red. You can also peel them but you may want to use gloves.
Another good trick is to cover your cutting board with parchment paper when slicing beets. This will save your cutting board from turning red.
For our final beet blog we have two recipes! First up pickled beets. Followed by Beet Green Chips.
One of the favorite ways many of my clients enjoy beets is pickled. I had several comments that their favorite recipe for beets came from their grandmother. So, I asked one of my clients for their grandma's recipe.
Take note, no matter what pickling recipe I looked at for beets they all contained a fair amount of sugar.
So don’t write to me about the amount of sugar. I’ve been saying for years if your grandmother didn’t eat it neither should you. Therefore, if grandma ate and made pickled beets made with sugar maybe we should give it a try. Plus, I can’t imagine many people sit down and eat an entire jar of pickled beets! If you do.....Wow!
Cook beets in jackets, with stem & root attached, in saucepan with water. To test doneness, rub the beet with the side of a fork. Skin should peel away. (If you poke them, they will bleed). Cool until you can handle them and slip the skins off. Cut in quarters or slices. Set aside.
1 C sugar
1 C water
1 C vinegar
1 T lemon juice or 2 or 3 lemon slices
Heat until sugar is dissolved. Drop in cut beets and bring to a boil for a few minutes. Put beets in jar and pour hot liquid over them.
This is enough liquid for about 2-3 pints. Store for 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator.
Beet Green chips
Beet greens have a lot of health benefits. So make sure to not throw them away! They are high in protein, fiber, vitamin K, B6, and A, magnesium and potassium to name just a few.
Since the leaves remind me of the toughness of kale I thought they might make a good chip.
I love kale chips, they are very yummy! If you feel that way then you will definitely like these beet green chips.
The prep and cooking is just like making kale chips.
First start with washing the leaves and then leaving them out to dry on paper towels for several hours.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Next place parchment on a two cookie sheets. Lay out the leave on the cookie sheet. Next I spray the leaves with olive oil from a spray bottle. Flip the leaves over and repeat. (You can also toss the leaves with 1- 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl.)
Next add seasoning to both sides of the leaf. I used salt and pepper on one sheet. On the other I used Trader Joe's Umami seasoning blend. This is one of my favorite seasonings to use for roasting vegetables.
Make sure to keep an eye on these as they can burn quickly!
Let cool and enjoy! Store in a glass container. These will keep for 5 days.
- Lowering blood pressure
- Cognitive health
- Reducing inflammation
- Anti-cancer properties
- Detoxification of the liver
- Improved athletic performance.
To Wrap up my thoughts on Beets…
- Beets are best paired with goat cheese or some type of citrus.
- For me they are good in small doses. I can see us adding roasted beets to our weekly salads or making the red flannel hash for breakfast. Plus I did like the pickled beets.
- I don’t love beets like many do but I can see their benefit and appreciate that they add a variety of good nutrients.
Next month: Celeriac aka Celery Root!
Jason's thought after trying out Beet juice to help with athletic performance....
Juicing itself is a pretty well documented and solid idea when it comes to getting a strong nutrient balance into our bodies. As a juice-able food source, beets aren't too bad of a choice. It's a sweet vegetable and generally tastes similar to doing carrots although a little more so in terms of sweet-ness. To offset a little with some tangy citrus flavor, Hillary added an orange.
It was proposed by the experts that one should consume the beet juice 2 hours before a workout.
Workout number 1 - I drank the juice mid morning as I was going running later. At that point in the day I had not eaten since breakfast about 2.5 hours earlier. On a basically empty stomach with no protein the juice gave me a pretty good glucose shock. About an hour or so later I started getting pretty jittery and did not feel like working out at that time. I chomped on some chicken as soon as I could and waited a little while. The run was fine after I balanced out a little, I did not feel supercharged though.
The sugars in this drink should be paired with either a protein powder or a lean protein source in my opinion.
Workout Number 2 - Followed my own advice, in addition to breakfast, when I later drank the beet juice I also ate a little bit of protein with it and about a teaspoon of protein powder, not much. Two hours later, I did not feel the jitters and started into my weight training session. All was fine and I did feel pretty good for about the first 45 minutes of my workout. The last 10 minutes I definitely started to feel the same jittery feeling from before but not quite as bad. I also knew that after I was done I would be able to eat my lunch right away.
Bottom line, I happened to read an article that came up for me from a guy who also was drinking beet juice before a half marathon. The difference there is he drank every day for a week leading up to the event and also did moderate to little training. I think that if I were to do the same and drink every day for a week with proper pairing I probably would have been able to see some benefit.
This guy claimed that he matched previous times despite having not done a proper training lead up. That might be so, I think that beet juice is good, and it's good for you. I think whatever benefit it might provide would really only be noticeable to someone invested in higher levels of performance. Weekend warriors or folks whose only 'event' is Bloomsday each year probably won't notice.
Beet juice is tasty, but there are a couple of things to be aware of in my opinion.
1. the glucose dump that you'll get might mess you up and if you're sensitive it might be a problem.
2. a day or so later you have to remember that you drank the beet juice, otherwise you'll think you are dying from ebola. FUN!