Try a new recipe! The Wellness Consortium of Union County has partnered with Union County Farmer's Market to bring you information and healthy recipes that feature locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Featured Vegetable: Beets
Fresh beets have a higher nutritive value than canned beets. Beets are low in calories, 44 calories for a 3/4 cup serving, and high in vitamin C and folate. Beets greens are also high in vitamin C, with 30 percent of the recommended daily allowance (in 1/2 cup cooked greens), and are high in vitamin A. Forty-six percent of a person’s daily requirement for vitamin A is contained in 1/2 cup of cooked greens.
Selection: Beets are available throughout the garden season. Early in the season, choose, from your garden or local farmer, the tender greens with small, immature beets (less than 1 1/2 inch in diameter). Beet greens are a delicacy and are cooked with the beet attached. As the season progresses, look for medium-sized beets that are smooth, hard and have a deep red color. Larger beets, over 2 1/2 inches in diameter, may be tough, stringy and have a woody core. Avoid soft, bruised or shriveled beets.
Storage: Mature beets can be stored without the tops for up to three weeks in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper. Leave the beets unwashed when storing. When cutting tops from beets, leave at least 1/2 inch of the stems and at least two inches of the tap root on the beets. If you cut closer to the beet, the color will bleed from the vegetable during cooking. If the tops are tender and you want to use them, store them separately, and use as soon as possible.
Some favorite ways to serve beets are seasoned with herbs, pickled and in soups or salads.
Preparation: Cut off leafy tops about one inch above the beet. Wash thoroughly in water to remove dirt and debris.
- Baking or Roasting- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place unpeeled beets in a baking pan with a little oil, salt and pepper. Add 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the pan and cover pan with foil. Bake for 45 to 90 minutes depending on size. Beets are done when a knife or fork can easily pierce the skin. Allow beets to cool slightly and peel off the skins by rubbing with your fingers. Slice, eat, and enjoy.
- Microwave: One pound of small whole beets can be microwaved in 1/4 cup of liquid in 10 minutes.
- Beets can be served warm or cold, sliced or whole, and are great with a little olive oil and lemon or with vinaigrette. Other great toppings include plain or flavored margarine, lemon juice, vinegar, sour cream, or plain yogurt. Beets are especially tasty with a little Balsamic Vinegar!
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