Healthy Winter Vegetables – Beet Benefits

beet benefits

There are so many beet benefits. I love beets. I admit, I’m biased, as I grew up on beets. My father grew them, and my mother pickled them. They were delicious. We always ate them fresh. As an adult, I make pickled beets for my kids, and they also love them. However, I actually prefer them just plain. And warm! When they aren’t pickled, you easily taste how some beets are sweeter than others. I like to think that people who don’t like beets just haven’t tried them fresh, especially the sweeter ones.

Beets are so good for us! Some beet benefits are that they keep blood pressure low. Athletes use them to improve their performance. Beets may improve inflammation and may improve digestion. They are high in folate, manganese, and copper. Beets have delicious greens, which are high in vitamins A, C, K, and B2.

Beets come in different varieties. You may find golden beets, striped beets, or even white beets! The most common variety, of course, is dark red. Those dark red beets will stain your hands when you prepare them, but the color comes off soon enough. The color may also, um, show up the next day in your bathroom. If you have forgotten that you ate beets, you might find yourself a bit surprised later!

My kids love pickled beets. I love them just boiled, and also roasted. I think they are easier to boil, but roasting can bring out the sweetness. Some other great recipes to try out:

  • I like this Fall Garden Medley recipe, as it uses carrots, beets, onions, and sweet potatoes. You may find all of the ingredients at a Winter Farmers Market.
  • Harvard Beets sounds like a sweet treat my girls would love. Few ingredients means an easier time in the kitchen. I’d recommend using fresh boiled beets rather than using the canned variety.
  • Balsamic Roasted Beets are another simple and sweet way to get beets on the table. They remind me a bit of pickled beets, but are much lower in sugar.
  • Roasted Beet Salad with Bacon sounds amazing. During the winter, likely you won’t get beet greens, but it wouldn’t be hard to substitute whatever greens you might find in the farmers market. This is a savory recipe, and one I’ll be trying very soon.

If your beets come with the greens still attached, don’t throw them away! Beet greens have more antioxidants and phytonutrients than the beets themselves. Greens are a little bitter, and work well in savory dishes.

One of the reasons beets are considered a winter vegetable is not because they grow in winter. Rather, they are one of the best crops for storing throughout winter. Beets keep in the fridge for up to three months, according to Harvest to Table. They can also be stored long term in root cellar-like conditions. Your farmer may store her crop, and sell it at a later date. Greens likely won’t be attached. Since beets keep so well, you could easily buy or grow enough, and store them yourselves. Just don’t toss the greens!

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