Beets are just now coming into season and are a great root vegetable to incorporate in a variety of ways throughout the winter. Beets are not only delicious and nutritious, but they can add the most beautiful pop of color to any recipe or side dish. Beets are a great source of antioxidants, and they have anti-inflammatory properties as well. Just one cup of beets contains only 60 calories, 34 percent of your daily folate, 15 percent of your daily fiber, 11 percent of your daily vitamin C, and 12 percent of your daily potassium.
When selecting a bunch of beets in the produce section, look for beets that are small to medium-sized with firm roots, smooth skin, and a deep consistent color. Check the tops of the beet root for greens that appear fresh, not wilted, and have a bright green color with deep red or purple veins. Also, be sure to check the freezer section if you can’t find fresh beets!
To store beets, cut off the greens about 2 inches above the root. Place the beets in a plastic bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, and keep in your refrigerator. Store the greens in a separate bag and also place in the refrigerator. Always wash your beet roots and greens thoroughly before cooking and enjoying.
Both the beet roots and greens can be consumed in a variety of ways.
* Try chopping up half of a raw beet and adding it to your morning smoothie with a banana, half an apple, one medium carrot, half cup almond milk, half cup yogurt or one scoop protein powder, and one tablespoon of honey.
* Shave a raw beet root over an arugula, spinach or kale salad and add goat cheese and roasted nuts.
* Blend a beet into homemade hummus!
* Quickly blanch beet greens on the stove for a hearty and healthy side dish for rice and beans.
* Roast chopped beets in the oven at 425 degrees for 10 to 20 minutes with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to serve with beef or chicken roasts.