Savor Our Seasons: Beets

By Liza Drew, RD

Flavorful Fact: Beets have been cultivated since ancient times, images of beets were found painted on a brothel in Pompeii and beets were said to have been included in the gardens of Babylon.

Both the roots and greens of the beet plant are highly nutritious, containing lots of fiber, vitamins, minerals and the phytochemical betaine, which gives beets their color. Betaine has been shown to decrease our risk of developing cardiovascular disease by lowering inflammatory homocysteine levels. Beets are also said to be an aphrodisiac, which explains their location in Pompeii.

Health benefits aside, I find the earthy sweetness of beetroots irresistible, especially this time of year when beets are fresh and young. I like grating raw beets on salads or boiling whole beets, rubbing off their skin, slicing them and sprinkling them with sea salt. I’ve even been known to add pureed beets to chocolate cake batter for a red velvety treat.

And don’t dare throw away those greens! Sauté them in a little olive oil, garlic and ginger or add them to soups and pasta sauces.

Try this Recipe:
Roasted Beet Salad with Grapes and Feta