Beets Nutrition Facts and Cooking Methods
Beets are very nutritional and healthy root vegetables. Beetroots juice is a common ingredient for healthy diet recipes. This root vegetable can be eaten raw or as salads, cooked as a vegetable as a side dish to the main course of meal.
Have you ever tried eating fresh beets? In a grocery store, they will not look very tempting; covered with soil and a funny purple colour.
Not many are tempted to eat this purple coloured vegetable. Beetroot, when well-prepared can be a very tasty and healthy dish.
Selection and Storage
When you are shopping in a store, look for raw beets that are fresh, firm with a shine, not too dry. It is still better if the beets contain leaves. If you are buying pre-cooked then the skin should be smooth, without black spots or cracks. Try to buy small beets as the large ones may contain more fibers.
Fresh, you can keep it for 3-4 days in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator, enclosed in an airtight container.
Cut into slices or cubes, it can be kept frozen and for several months.
To cook beetroots, first wash them in cold running water to remove the soil and dirt. Then plunge them in boiling water with its stems. Add a little bit of salt and vinegar. When it cools down you should be able to peel the skin.
Ideas for Recipes
- When you buy raw beetroots, grate them finely and have it as appetizers with vinegar and olive oil or simply by adding salad sauce.
- Pre-cooked beetroots are ideal for salad dressings.
- You can also find them as pickles in stores and very popular in South American houses.
- In Indian gastronomy, it is used to prepare meat curry dishes.
- Beet juice is also a very popular healthy drink.
The botanical name for the beet is Beta Vulgaris. It belongs to the Amaranthaceous family. It is more commonly known as ‘beetroot’ or ‘garden beet’; a purple root vegetable.
Beet is also cultivated as a leaf vegetable. The different varieties of beet vegetables are:
Chard: A green leafy vegetable commonly used in Mediterranean recipes. It is a highly nutritious leaf but its roots are not as nutritious.
Other common names are; spinach beet, Swiss chard, Silver beet, etc.
Sugar beet: It is a plant whose tubers contain high quantity of sugar. It is commercially produced for the production of sugar and molasses.
The beet has a long historical background for its cultivation, most probably, going back to the second millennium BC. According to history, the plant was used for the first time for domestic purpose along the Mediterranean region. The beetroot was also used for medicinal purposes.
Today, it is cultivated as a vegetable (beetroot), leaves (Swiss chard, spinach beet), as fodder and for sugar production.
France is the second largest cultivator in Europe, just after Italy. The beetroot is mainly cultivated in Orleans, Brittany and Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
Raw or fresh, it is available in the shops from May to October, while if it is cooked and vacuum packaged, it is available all year round.