There is something I love so much about beets. Unlike any other fruit or veggie. I think Tom Robbins describes their sultry aura well…
The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious – Tom Robbins
Not only are beets seriously drop dead gorgeous but they’re as nutritious as can be. In one of my favorite books, How Not To Die (half off on Amazon, ya’ll), Dr. Michael Greger really drives home the fact that the darker and more vibrant a fruit or veggie is, the higher the level of antioxidants it contains. For example, a dark blackberry packs more of the good stuff than a raspberry and kale has more than romaine.
So just IMAGINE how antioxidant-rich a blood red beet is!
Antioxidants are extremely important – especially to anyone on the Standard American Diet (aka SAD) because heart disease and cancer are big killers. Antioxidants actually fight and prevent the kind of free radical damage that may contribute to these diseases. The main source of antioxidants for Americans is that magical bean potion most of us are addicted to: coffee. Time to incorporate more FOOD sources, too!
In addition to being an excellent source of antioxidants, beets are kind of the perfect food for pregnant women. I remember piling them on at the salad bar while I was pregnant. They contain folate for neural tube development, magnesium for mood-management, vitamin C for immunity, much-needed fiber (ladies?), as well as phosphorous and iron.
Beets have many more uses than you would expect. Here are 10 things to do with the next beet you come across.
- Juice. If you have a juicer at home, you know the drill. It’s a quick route to delivering the nutrients quickly. And beet juice is just so gorgeous – put it in a wine glass if you’re feeling fancy. If not, try to find a local juice shop that makes raw, cold pressed juice. Here is a tutorial on juicing without a juicer!
- Instant Pot. Instant Pot recipes are all the rage right now because they’re super quick and easy. Try this simple recipe for making a bigger batch of beets to have on hand for any dish.
- Raw.Crunchy, earthy and juicy. Wash(?), peel and slice. Or if you’re feeling real weird, bite into it like an apple.
- DIY Makeup.Use the extra juice of a beet to make a DIY lip and cheek stain. Store it in a small container in the refrigerator – a little lemon juice will keep it from oxidizing too quickly. Add a little coconut oil or vitamin E to add a moisturizing effect.
- Paint.Use extra beet juice to create a beautiful watercolor paint. Dilute for lighter beet-y hues.
- Grill.I bet you never thought to put tubers on the grill (hey, haven’t you heard of Carrot Dogs?!). Keep your grilled beets simple with EVOO, salt and pepper or marinate beforehand.
- Add to a Smoothie or Smoothie Bowl. A great smoothie addition for a boost of fiber and color. If you want to retain that bright magenta hue, try not to add too many greens. Berries, apples and celery are a great addition!
- Make a Beet Burger. We are fortunate to have a great local burger bar with a beet burger on the menu. I honestly dream about it. If you aren’t so lucky – make a beet burger of your own. Of course, it will look a little “bloody” on the inside, even when it’s done 🙂 Here is a good recipe to try from Minimalist Baker.
- Beet Noodles.
It could get messy, but you can throw them in your spiralizer at home. If you don’t have one and aren’t ready to invest, many grocers (like Wegmans) now carry pre-packaged veggie noodles in their refrigerated produce section.
- Dye or Tie-Dye clothing. You’ll just need chopped beets, or beet juice, vinegar and water. Beware: the color will not be as vibrant as you’re probably imagining so research before taking on this messy endeavor. This is a great tutorial with examples of the finished product.
And finally… don’t throw those beet greens out! They boast an impressive nutrient profile like no other green. If you are a juicer, it’s good to switch your greens up frequently and beet greens are good to have in rotation.