Can I Beet It?

To the challenge of trying a new, in season vegetable!

At Starbucks this a.m., I saw my friend, Tom, who is the chef at Garibaldi. He’s been giving me tips for the kitchen, and who better to get them from, right? When I told him of Traci’s challenge to try a new, in season vegetable, he threw out a few suggestions. I settled on beets. (Well, for me, I’m just starting with a singular beet!)

Tom suggested I first roast it, wrapped in foil, at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until I can easily insert a knife in it. Afterward, he said, I should peel and slice it, and then saute it with a little oil and salt. (He also added that if you eat a lot of beets that your pee can turn purple. I doubt I will eat that much, but I think that would be kinda cool, in a gross way.)

After coffee, I went to The Fresh Market and bought a beet. I hope to cook it this evening or maybe tomorrow, depending on how long we are out Christmas shopping today.

Here is what I read about beets when I got home:

  • The beet has a long history of cultivation stretching back to the second millennium BC. The plant was probably domesticated somewhere along the Mediterranean, whence it was later spread to Babylonia by the 8th century BC and as far east as China by 850 AD.
  • Foods belonging to the chenopod family-including beets, chard, spinach and quinoa-continue to show an increasing number of health benefits not readily available from other food families.  These colorful root vegetables contain powerful nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer.
  • Many of the unique phytonutrients present in beets have been shown to function as anti-inflammatory compounds.
  • Choose small or medium-sized beets whose roots are firm, smooth-skinned and deep in color. Smaller, younger beets may be so tender that peeling won’t be needed after they are cooked.
  • Since beet juice can stain your skin, wearing kitchen gloves is a good idea when handling beets.
  • An estimated 10-15% of all U.S. adults experience beeturia (a reddening of the urine) after consumption of beets in everyday amounts.

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