“Just Beet It!”

Here is Tom Robbins on beets: “The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.”  I’m convinced, are you?

But, wait, I do want to say a few more things.  Mainly about the health benefits of beets (but also some of the cautions!).  Studies have shown that beets can help with heart health, reducing dementia, improving diabetes, assisting with digestion (all that fiber!) and even helping improve muscle performance during exercise.  And they are a vitamin and mineral powerhouse, with lots of potassium, calcium and Vitamin D.   But, there is concern that their high levels of oxalates can be a challenge if you are prone to kidney stones or gout, so be careful.  And don’t freak out if you see red in the toilet after lots of beets!

Also, don’t forget that beet greens are delicious and nutritious too—in fact, in olden times, the greens were all that people ate, sort of like chard.

And oh, the recipes!  Here are three collections of them—you can see that the range is truly unbelievable!

–The New York Times’ page includes such exotic offerings as Caramelized Beets with Orange-Saffron Yogurt and Garlicky Beet Spread with Yogurt, Dill and Horseradish

Buzzfeed offers links to a Raw Beet and Coconut Smoothie, and to a Beet Reuben sandwich (!)

–And LoveBeets.com gives you Beet Cacao Cookies and a yummy-looking Winter Rice Bowl recipe

So, whether from a farmer’s market, a supermarket, or your garden, make a deadly serious plan to try some beets sometime soon!

More reading on this most intense of vegetables:

–The beginning of Jitterbug Perfume, by Robbins, with additional beet musings

Beet history—the Romans thought they had aphrodisiac qualities!  Do you?

–A Viking re-enactor attempts to dye wool with beets

How to make beet sugar at home (it’s pretty easy!)

Beat It!  (sorry if that’s now an earworm for you)

beetit

Photo credit: Lizettorama on Flickr.com

beetslices

Photo credit: Ben Chun on Flickr.com

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