ELECTROLYTES: beets

beets.didyouknow.saynotofoodwaste.local.sustainable.seasonal.1

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word beets? Have you eaten a beet? Lately? Ever?

When I think of beets … I think of Thanksgiving.

The Jell-O tube of cranberries (the ones in a can) – strange, I know, but it was my 2nd thought!

And elders (old people), the past, history …. a relic of our past lives.

Beets are underutilized. Beets aren’t flashy, they aren’t mainstream, they aren’t the latest trend (yet); but they are red, seen during the holidays and good for you (can’t you just hear your mom saying: “now eat your beets because ….”). Beets are not only high in electrolytes but they are a good source of potassium too.

Can you remember the last time you had a beet? (that is beet not beer ☺) For me, it was last week and before that …. childhood. It was forced upon me, as most foods are when you are a kid. I don’t remember disliking or liking it. So, when I tried beets again last week, I had a scowl on my face because I was certain the taste would turn me off.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the beet’s earthiness. I know, I know, you are thinking earthiness is code for dirt but seriously they were yummy. The earthiness wasn’t a turn off and I attribute that to the flavors I am rediscovering by eating organic.

Since I am a newbie to beets, I am looking forward to the journey of exploring recipes and researching different and unique ways to add beets to my meals. What are some ways that you enjoy beets?

In last week’s Cooking with Grams, she made a beet salad and it got me thinking, could beets be toasted and used as a salad topper? Maybe toasted for a snack? Perhaps pair them with toasted pumpkin seeds? What about shredded beets as a salad topper? Maybe add them to a smoothie? As I write this, I am thinking – uh – why not – give it a try.

I am also thinking, hydration is so important. It matters to our skin, our muscles, our internal organs and it prevents headaches. Water is a source of hydration. Did you know? Our body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, and lubricate our joints.

I drink plenty of water, most days, but I do not always feel hydrated and sometimes I’m just bored with water. I’m not a fan of sugary drinks. And I try to limit what I put in my body to ingredients I can read and understand. Natural flavor appears to be code for chemicals.

And even though I get bored or want something easy, I just can’t forget all I am learning on my journey away from processed to organic because natural has been hijacked by big business. I share this because I once deferred to others as the experts on my health but as I take control of my health reins, I am finding so many delicious fruits and vegetables, varieties I hadn’t even thought of, that provide the hydration – electrolytes (and other important vitamins and minerals) my body craves. And while I’ve been a vegetarian for a lot of years, it didn’t mean that I ate healthy or that I understood what fruits and veggies offer. Now I have another source of hydration provided by nature – beets.

Fun Facts

Detroit Dark Red, Early wonder, Sangria and Sweetheart are not horse names, or a favorite drink, but are some of the beet varieties!

Other varieties include:
Avenger, Big Red, which matures in 55 days and is one of the best late season producers, Gladiator, Pacemaker, Red Ace and Warrior. There are also miniature varieties of beets such as Little Ball and Little Mini Ball. And some specialty beet varieties grown for specific characteristics such as: Golden, which has a lovely buttery yellow color and a sweet, mild flavor and Di Chioggia, which is an Italian heirloom known for its striped red and white interior, sweet, mild taste and early maturation.

Did you know? You can plant beet seeds directly in your garden about eight to 10 weeks before the first expected frost and harvest them in time for the holidays. Beets harvested in fall have stronger colors than spring-planted beets and fall beets often have higher sugar levels as well.

Did you know?
The beet was initially cultivated around 2,000 BC in the Mediterranean region. When harvested, the entirety of the plant is edible, from the tips of its leaves, down to its long pointed root. And that Beetroot juice is one of the richest dietary sources of antioxidants and naturally occurring nitrates. Nitrates (not to be confused with nitrites!) are compounds which improve blood flow throughout the body—including the brain, heart, and muscles.

Also, beets are seasonal and regional.
September is a good month for beets and beets are local to DC.

Other interesting information:

For growing – https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/how-to-grow-beets-zb0z1609zsgre

For recipes – https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/our-best-beet-recipes/view-all/

https://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/beets

Until next week, enjoy beets! I look forward to hearing your stories and adventures with beets plus any holiday recipes you wish to share.

By
Elizabeth Fischer

References:

1 – Mar 27, 2017 – Hydration: Why It’s So Important – familydoctor.org

2 – Gardening Know How: Types Of Beet Plants: Learn About Different Beet Varieties

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/beets/different-beet-varieties.htm

3 – https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/gardening/a20706898/growing-beets/

4 – https://www.self.com/story/10-facts-didnt-know-beets

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s