This week our shares include the first beet harvest of the season! It always excites me to add a new veggie to the rotation, and as a relatively inexperienced beet eater myself, I decided to find out more about the root (and greens) that will be coloring our upcoming meals in such a lively way.
Beets, as it turns out, hail from the Mediterranean, where the Greeks presented them as an offering to Apollo and the Romans, in addition to considering them to be an aphrodisiac (!), used them medicinally for ailments such as fever and constipation. Although both cultures ate the leaves, it wasn’t until the 1600s that people turned to the roots as a food source.
These colorful roots and greens are good for us, too. The roots contain Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and folic acid. There are even substances in them that are thought to contribute to a sense of well-being and to help counter depression. The greens, on the other hand, are rich in iron, calcium, and beta-carotene.
So, what to do with these wonderful veggies? Well, the greens can be used in much the same way that you would use spinach or chard: cooked, in salads, and whatnot. Most people are familiar with the roots pickled, but they can also be grated raw and used in salads, or roasted, boiled, baked, or juiced. I am personally excited about roasting them: cut them into chunks, coat them in a little oil and whatever seasoning suits your fancy, and roast at around 360 F until they are tender.
Let the adventures begin!