Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Vegetable of the Week: Beets

Golden Beet at Desert Roots Farm
This colorful, sweet root may not be the richest vegetable in nutrients but it certainly should not be overlooked and is invaluable during the winter season.

Beet comes in white & gold varieties as well as the classic purple-red, which is the best source of nutrients. Betaine, which gives it its deep color, is even more potent an antioxident than polyphenols in its effect on lowering blood pressure. A scientific study also found that the high levels of nitrates in beet juice work like aspirin to prevent blood clots, and help to protect the lining of blood vessels. Red beet is also rich in anthocyanins, which may help to proven colon and other cancers. 

*Contain betaine to lower blood pressure and may be anti-inflammatory.
*Contain nitrates to help prevent blood clots.
Anthocyanins can help prevent cancers.
*A good source of iron, magnesium, and folate.

Did you know?
Beets were originally cultivated for their nutritious leaves, which can still be rated when small, in the same way as spinach. 

Practical Tips: 
Cooked beets will keep in an airtight container for a few days in the refrigerator or you can puree cooked beets and freeze. To cook, cut off the leaves but leave about 2 inches of stalk and the the root still on. This will avoid the beet "Bleeding" as it cooks. Beets can be boiled whole for about 50 minutes or brushed with a little oil and baked in aluminum foil at 400 degrees for 1 hour. The skins can then be easily rubbed off. Beet can also be used raw, peeled, and finely grated into salads or salsa, or juiced. 

Keep an eye out for the Recipe of the Week featuring Beets!

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