A favorite activity of mine is hitting the farmer’s market each Saturday morning. I love browsing, seeing what’s available and wishing I had unlimited income to purchase anything and everything that strikes my fancy! Since that is not the case I just enjoy looking, meeting new or reconnecting with returning vendors, and making some purchases.
A couple of weeks ago I met a new vendor. They had the most incredibly beautiful beets I’ve ever seen! (I’m not sure why I’ve not succeeded in growing them, but that’s probably another story!) They even left the vibrant, tender greens attached to the plant. You might think this is an unfair waste of money, but truly it is not. Remember in my last post I talked about one way to “find” money to make healthy food purchases. The beet greens are every bit as nutritious and enjoyable to eat as the beets themselves so nothing goes to waste. Here are some reasons to eat beets: heart health, rich in vitamin B, fiber to keep things “moving along” (if you notice red tinges in urine or stool, this is natural due to the vivid red coloring of beets! Check that out here), plenty of magnesium and potassium, believed to help prevent colon cancer and heart disease, extremely beneficial to the liver and gallbladder. And here are reasons why you may wish to eat the beet greens: plenty of beta-carotene, calcium, iron, contains Vitamin C.
Many of you may be thinking eating beets is the same as eating dirt! I understand. I thought that myself until my good friend Tish sort of forced the issue. So I tried them and like Sam I Am, I liked them – and can pretty much eat them anywhere! You really can learn to like new things by retraining your taste buds and beets are a great place to start with all the health benefits.
So let’s talk about various ways to prepare them. The easiest way is to boil or steam, esp. if they are small. Recently I learned that it’s best to leave an inch or two of beet stem and root intact when preparing this way. That keeps a lot of the juice in the beets instead of leaching out while cooking. If beets are fairly small bring some water to a boil, maybe about an inch or so, and add the trimmed, cleaned beets. Start checking for tenderness by piercing with a fork around 15 minutes. Depending on the size it could take quite a bit longer. When done allow to cool and remove the skins. They peel off quite easily after cooking. Slice them up and place in the refrigerator. They can be used in salads, or eaten alone. Adding a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of sea salt is another delicious option.
The greens can be torn up and added to salad if still tender. Smoothies are a great place to add the greens when they are mature and tougher. One of my favorite ways is to sauté for a couple of minutes in part butter and part olive oil. Even tastier is adding some onion or garlic to the butter first and then adding the greens when the onions or garlic are softened.
My newest favorite way is to lacto ferment the beets. I do a half gallon at a time so they last quite a while – and by that I mean maybe a month! My favorite gadget to use is the Perfect Pickler and though I’ll talk more about this another time you may want to look into this.
So for now may I just encourage you to begin broadening what your tastes buds like! God has given us so many delicious things to eat and it’s best not to limit them to a few items. Learn to enjoy both the taste and what these fresh foods can do for our bodies!