Love it or hate it, Beets divide people. A food with such an alpha personality is beloved by some and loathed by others. From the moment you cut it, it truly bleeds and wreaks havoc on your hands, tools and work area; its colour dominates any other ingredients that come in contact with it; and its distinctive earthy, sweet flavour sings the solo in every chorus of flavours. Its irrepressibility makes it both irresistible and irritating. Who'd have thought a grubby little root could scrub up to be so polarising?
With so many health benefits, Beets has climbed the superfood ladder years ago and remains a top contender for nutritional excellence. Beets contain:
- Betalains are powerful antioxidants, excellent for heart health, detoxifying the body and protecting from cancer.
- Folate, for cell vitality
- Iron, for blood health
- Copper, for bone and tissue health
- Magnesium, for bone health (especially the greens)
- Several other antioxidants including A/beta-carotene, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and protecting you from toxins.
Growing Season: Beets prefer the cool weather. For that reason, they are available from Magic Season Organics farm from November through till March.
Varieties: There are 100's of beetroot varieties. Some have been bred to minimise geosmin (the chemical compound responsible for the earthy flavour of beets). Chioggia and Candy beetroots have pink and white stripes, and there are also golden and white varieties.
Storage: Store in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge in the crisper drawer. Roots by nature store well and freshness is not as crucial. Inside the fridge, beets can last up to 2 weeks.
Prep: Scrub beets before trimming
- If boiling, it is not essential to peel the roots at all so the colour doesn't leach into the water. Boil until tender, then drain and, when collecting enough to handle, the skins will slip off easily. (gloves are advised)
- If roasting, pare off any spindly roots first, then slice, halve or quarter, or leave whole and roast with a slick of oil and some seasoning.
- If using raw, first cut away any spindly roots and shave off the scruff where the leaves were attached, then slice or grate. No need to peel as long as it's well scrubbed.
- if juicing, give your beets an extra scrub, slice and go. (gloves are advised)