Even though beets had a definite comeback in the last couple of years and we have seen them on the menus of many restaurants, they still might not be at the top of your list of favorite foods. Never the less they deserve an article due to their healing and nutritious qualities. And who knows, maybe I’ll convince you to give them another shot!
Although harvesting season for beets is from June-November, they store really well for up to 7 months. During summer months, fresh, small beetroots no bigger than 2 inches in diameter are delicious raw. And the bigger mature roots are best for storage and should be cooked or fermented.
A bit of beet history – Beets have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years in the Mediterranean region and used medicinally for many ailments. They have been traditionally used to treat anemia, constipation, liver and gallbladder issues, indigestion, and heart disease. They have also been associated with sexuality and even used as aphrodisiac.
Modern research confirms many of the health claims of the past. Here is what we know about the beets now:
- Natural blood “cleansers” – enhance detoxification and support liver function
- High in antioxidants that protect us from cancer
- Contain compounds that reduce inflammation – the root cause of many chronic diseases
- Promote cardiovascular health by normalizing blood pressure, cholesterol and homocysteine levels
- Help maintain healthy sex drive
- Promote healthy elimination process
What can we do with beets?
I love beets in salads, and you can find some of my favorite recipes here: Beets, pea shoots and nuts, Roasted beets and arugula salad.
You can roast them and serve as a side dish.
Like any Russian woman I have my variation of Borsch, a classic Russian and Ukrainian soup. My mom taught me how to make it, and I added my own “vitamin L” to it and hope to soon pass the recipe to my daughter. Here is My Mama’s Borsch.
And last but not least, we can ferment beets to make is a powerful tonic food Blood Building Beet Kvas, a recipe adopted from Sally Fallon.