Benefits:Considered a very good source of dietary fiber, beets help improve digestive activity. Beets provide a good source of folate, potassium and manganese, and are also believed to aid in cleansing the kidneys and gallbladder.
Storage Tips: For the greens; rinse leaves and spin or pat dry on a kitchen towel. Store in a resealable bag or storage container in the refrigerator. Use within a few days for the greatest nutritional benefit and the best flavor. For the roots; cut off greens about an inch above the top of the beet, and store in a resealable bag in the hydrator drawer. Beet roots maintain their freshness for anywhere from several weeks to months, if stored in very cold and somewhat moist conditions.
Cooking and Preparation: For the fresh beet greens; use as you would chard, kale, spinach or other hardy greens. For the roots; use raw or roasted in salads; thinly sliced, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and baked for homemade beet chips; boiled in soups, like my Grandmother's borscht; or juiced with other sweet and earthy roots, like carrots and ginger.
Simple roasted beets
Time: 1 hour
4 beets, any variety olive oil kosher salt fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Thoroughly wash beets. Remove the greens, about a 1/2 inch from the top of the beet, and save for another use.
Place the beets in a large roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and coat each beet with oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pierce each one several times with a fork.
Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until tender all the way through.
Allow beets to cool. Once cool enough to handle, their "jackets" or the rough and tough outer skin of the beets can be easily removed with your hands.
Remove the outer layer and serve in a green salad with your favorite goat cheese and toasted hazelnuts or in any recipe calling for roasted beets.
Spinach Salad with Early Summer Dressing
Time: 15 minutes
1 bunch of First Light spinach 1 cup pea tendrils 1 cup raw shredded beets 1/2 cup shredded radish 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1 pint strawberries 1/2 cup white wine vinegar 1 tbsp. sunflower oil 1 small shallot, thinly sliced sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Wash and stem spinach leaves. Toss with pea tendrils and distribute evenly into four salad bowls.
Shred beets and radishes and then arrange evenly in salad bowls.
Toast walnuts in a dry pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until toasted and deep golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Wash, hull and then smash strawberries in a bowl with the back of a wooden spoon. Whisk in vinegar, oil, sliced shallot and seasonings.
Arrange walnuts on salads and allow everyone to help themselves to the Early Summer Dressing.