A quick disclaimer: My aunt is older than my mom but she joined a convent and because of her convent years she was having her first baby just after my mom had her second. My mom likes to point out in this story, my aunt studied nursing in the convent. One day my aunt calls my mom in a panic, her son’s poop is red, the diaper is red. What should she do? Is he dying? My mom talked her through many options and symptoms. Finally my mom says “Did he have beets?” My aunt says “Yes.” Problem solved. I’d like to add a second disclaimer, this story is over 30 years old, I take no responsibility for it’s accuracy, I’m telling it the way it was told to me, by my mom.
Back to the poop. It’s called beeturia, red beets will turn the whole shooting match in the toilet red. Fear not, you are not dying of internal bleeding or a symptom-less UTI, it’s the beets. Think of it this way, the red shows that the beets magic is doing it’s job. Gold or stripped beets don’t have this effect.
Beets are a fantastic source of folate. Every breeding woman knows the importance of taking folic acid to prevent neural tube birth defects. Beets are a great natural source. Though please still take your supplements! 1 cup of beets provides a third of our daily requirement of folic acid. Folate is a B vitamin, necessary for healthy tissue growth. Even if you are not growing a baby, we need to have enough in our diets.
Beets offer some protection from colon cancer. Betaine, a compound in beets, has shown to reduce inflammation. Inflammation can cause heart disease, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and cognitive decline. Cognitive decline is a nice way of saying forgetting where you’ve left your glasses.
Beets are also a very good source of manganese and potassium. And a good source of fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, copper, iron and phosphorus.
Folks into juicing are huge fans of beet juice. Websites devoted to juicing tell us that beet juice will solve every health problem you’ve ever had. From constipation to dandruff to gout. I gave juicing a try, I tried beets with carrots and apples. It was yummy. Beet juice is proven to inhibit cell mutations in the stomach caused by nitrates. If you are into juicing please share any beet juice experience you have.
Not only can we eat the beet root, we can also eat the greens. I’ve been relucant to try this but I gave it a go for the sake of journalistic integrity. Or something.
A bunch of beets grated, either by hand or in the food processor.
Any combination of tender beet greens, lettuce, shredded cabbage, tender kale or swiss chard, spinach. You may also add fennel, carrot, turnip or green apple for a nice crunch.
Dressing- 1/2 cup yoghurt, 1/2 cup grated cucumber (or so), 1 garlic clove minced (2 if you are brave), juice of 1/2 a lemon, glug of olive oil and salt and pepper. Add in any fresh herbs if you have them.
It was fantastic! I’d never had raw beets before and I will be having this weekly from now on.
Cooking beets is pretty simple. Either boil or roast them in the oven. Throw them in skin on. Once cooked the skin will just slide off. Preparing beets is a real messy job. Don’t be doing it in your party clothes.
Once cooked you can do several things with them.
Roasted Beet Salad inspired by Michael Smith
4 large or 6 smaller beets cooked and coarsely chopped, ½ cup orange juice, 1 tbsp honey, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp cinnamon, mixed salad greens, soft goat cheese (chevre).
Toss beets with OJ, honey, oil and cinnamon. Place salad greens on 2 dinner or 4 salad plates, enough to cover plate. Divide beets evenly on greens. Crumble goat cheese on top and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Really nice if beets are still warm to melt cheese a bit.
The only caution to beets is this- If you have kidney or gall bladder problems you should avoid beets. Talk to your doctor.
Are you a beet lover? How do you enjoy them?