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. Available evidence, such as that provided by Aristotle and
Theophrastus, suggests the leafy varieties of the beet were grown
primarily for most of its history, though these lost much of their
popularity much later following the introduction of spinach. The roots
and leaves of the beet have been used in folk medicine to treat a wide
variety of ailments. Since Roman times, beetroot juice has been
considered an aphrodisiac.
all those legendary Russian centenarians? Beets, frequently consumed
either pickled or in borscht, the traditional Russian soup, may be
one reason behind their long and healthy lives. These colorful root
vegetables contain powerful nutrient compounds that help protect
against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially
beets are a dream and very easy to prepare: simply wrap in foil with
about an inch or two of their tops still on and put in a 400 degree oven
for an hour or less until tender. The skins slip right off, and these
tender beets are wonderful in salad or paired with tangy goat cheese as a
study in tasty contrasts.
is an excellent and varied list of beet recipes, including not only
roasted and grated beets in salads, but risotto, a lemony borscht for
summer, beets sauteed with their own greens, marinated beets and beets
starring in a main course dish with spiced quinoa . From the New York Times healthy food writers.
A Few Quick
grate raw beets for a delicious and colorful addition to salads or
decorative garnish for soups.
chunks of beet when roasting vegetables in the oven.
homemade vegetable juice? A quarter of a beet will turn any green
drink into a sweet pink concoction, pleasing both the eyes and the
sauté beet greens with other braising greens such as chard and
steamed beets in fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh herbs.
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