Beets, which originated in southern Europe, are from the wild beet species beta maritima linn, a plant that grows in the marine areas of southern Europe and northern Africa. Several varieties of beets are available, including baby beets, blankoma beets, a white variety, bull’s blood beets, a hearty red variety, golden beets and chiogga beets, an Italian variety that has red, purple or pink rings when cut. Beets have a number of uses both in food recipes and for medicinal purposes.
Beets may be served raw or cooked in a number of dishes including appetizers, salads and entrees. Beets are often paired with goat cheese for both appetizers and salads, such as small plates of roasted beets and goat cheese or roasted beet, peach and goat cheese salads. Red quinoa tossed with baby beets and topped with sweet apple chicken sausage is another salad option. Entree options include roasted lamb with root vegetables including beets, or parve cholent, a dish featuring hard boiled eggs in a mixture of rice, beets and potatoes.
Medicinal uses of the beet include removing pocket acid material in the bowels, according to Health Care Clinic, as well as for treating gallbladder and liver issues. High vitamin A content is helpful in terms of promoting healthy bowel movements and keeping the lymphatic and digestive systems functioning properly. Beets’ flavonoid content, which is due to betaine, a red pigment, makes beets a cancer-fighting food, according to Botanical Online. The vegetable’s iron content is also helpful to menstruating and pregnant women, as they require more iron.
Beets can be juiced to make a healthful beverage useful for fighting a number of ailments. As with eating raw or cooked beets, beet juice is helpful in the treatment of bladder problems, eye fatigue, anemia, kidney issues, skin problems, weight loss issues, liver problems and tiredness. Choose firm, smooth beets for juicing. Mix beet juice with other vegetable and fruit juices; drinking beet juice on its own can lead to temporarily paralyzed vocal chords, hive breakouts, chills, fever or increased heart rate.
Road Salt Improvement
One of the more interesting uses for beets is adding beet juice to road salt before storms. Combining the juice with road salt brine enables the stuff to function better at lower temperatures. The juice does not stain concrete a red color; rather, the beet juice/road salt combination looks brownish when put down and makes the road appear wet.
References and ResourcesAll Recipes: Fresh Beets
Health Care Clinic: Beets
Botanical: Properties of Beet Root
Philly.com Article Collections: "Chesco Uses Beet Juice to Improve Road Salt"; Kathleen Brady Shea; March 2011
Juicing Book: Beet Juice
The Nibble: A Glossary of Exotic & Heirloom Vegetables: Page 4: Exotic & Heirloom Beet Types
ResourcesFood Network: Beets
NY Times: Fitness & Nutrition: Recipes for Health: Beets