Monday, August 27, 2012

seasonal food: beets

When I was a kid, I would not eat beets.

I know, big shocker.  There's a lot of stuff I wouldn't eat as a child.  And there's a story in family lore of how a daycare provider tried to make my brother eat beets, and how traumatic the whole thing was.  Clearly, beets were not something a sane person chose to eat.

But over the past few years, largely due to the CSA program, I have absolutely fallen in love with beets.  My favorite way to prepare them is to roast them.  I cook them til they're nice and tender, peel them (marveling at the gorgeous hue), and dice them.  Then I toss them with a little extra virgin olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, adding a sprinkle or two of salt.  Perfection!  My daughter adores them this way. 

Fermented Beets

Another way we use beets around here is to pickle them.  I use the lacto-fermentation process - it's so easy! The end result is a crisp, flavorful beet: great on salads or in wraps.  I really enjoy the addition of a little garlic too, it adds such a nice zip to the pickled beets.

Pink Coleslaw

When I first learned about Pink Coleslaw, I was intrigued.  And it's the easiest thing ever to "pink" up the recipe!  Just grate a raw beet into the mix and stir it up.  The recipe called for two beets, but I only used one (I got lazy), and the result was still very pink.  It tastes like normal coleslaw to me (though I love that the dressing is sweetened with honey), but you get the health benefits of beets as well as that stunning color.

And what are the health benefits? According to Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions, beets are a wonderful source of vitamins and nutrients: "calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, as well as carotene, B complex and vitamin C."   They can be eaten cooked, raw, or fermented.  They also help to detoxify.

My next quest is trying and making beet kvass.  Talk about packing a punch!  And to think, a few years ago I never even would have considered it, not for anything.  My, how time can change things.


p.s.  I should probably tell you that beets can influence the color of your urine, especially if you eat more than one serving.  So if you g out and enjoy them, don't be alarmed!  You are not dying.  It's simply part of the "beet experience."

1 comment:

PF CHANGS said...

I love beats. :) one of my favorite foods.