Silly Food Fact
When you get embarrassed, does your face turn “beet-red”? You may not want that color on your face, but that deep, purple-red hue on a beet is gorgeous! Betacyanin is what produces this color, and beet juice has been used to color everything from hair dye to ice cream. You might be surprised to learn that beets also come in white and yellow varieties. Also, beets are hugely important as a commercial crop to produce our ordinary white sugar.
Why Our Bodies Love It
The betacyanin in beets is an anti-cancer agent, as well as a blood purifier and an aid to moderate blood pressure and cholesterol. Beets, however, offer a double package of nutrition: the red roots provide manganese, fiber, folic acid, and potassium; the green stems and leaves offer vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron.
Care and Picking
Beets are fun to grow. The leafy greens sprout above ground while the beet root hides under the soil until harvesting time. Beets like cooler temperatures, so avoid planting in summer heat. Unlike most veggies, beets can take partial shade. Well-drained soil and uniform watering are both essential. When purchasing beets, look for firm, deep-red roots and bright green leaves.
Check out this video on how to grow your own beets!
Tips and Warnings
Store beets in a cool place. Unwashed, they can stay fresh in your refrigerator or in a cool basement for several weeks. The greens are much more perishable and should be used within 3 days. Remember that beets don’t have to be cooked—peel, grate, and toss them into salads. Preparing beets can get messy; you may want to cover your cutting board with wax paper to prevent discoloration. Roasting beets is a great way to make them easy to peel, and cooked beets can be cubed and frozen for later use.
Learn how to clean and prepare fresh beets by watching this video!