The Beet is alive!

>> Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My wife being Ukrainian, we get our share of beets in our family's meal options, which is just fine with me. There was a time when I had a little too much borscht, because the typical method of cooking this soup is in a container meant for a large crowd - or a whole week, for our size of family. It's delicious, but eating it daily can get to you. But I've gotten over that, or else we're not having it as often, and I'm raving about it again.

I would say that the beet is not an overly popular vegetable in America - at least not beyond the Eastern European immigrant families! This is too bad, because it's a long-lasting root vegetable with many significant health benefits.

A beet is packed with calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and a little B-complex. They also have betaines, which give beets their red color, and sulphur. It has been found in numerous studies all over the world that fruits, vegetables, and some spices all containing sulphur have a proven track record for preventing as well as treating tumors - that is, cancer.

At our house we eat it in a few ways, frequently. As I mentioned, borscht is a staple recipe for beets and it is well-deserved. Every cook makes it slightly different, pretty much every time it's made, and with a dollop of sour cream (go for the REAL stuff) it is simple and elegant at the same time.

I also highly recommend juicing a raw beet along with a few carrots. If you have a centrifugal juicer or better yet a Vita-mix, this is an easy way to get the maximum benefit of all the beet's nutrients. You can also try adding in a clove of garlic, romaine lettuce, or other greens for various flavor kicks.

Another way that my wife often prepares beets is in her own beet salad. I've never seen a recipe like this, and it's really good.  It's sweet, earthy, and just plain good-for-you.

Olena's Beet Salad

  • 3 medium red beets, without stems or root tips
  • Mayonnaise* to taste, about 3 tbsp
  • A handful of walnuts or pecans
  • A handful of prunes
  • 3 cloves of garlic

Keep in mind that these amounts can be approximated and you'll still wind up with pretty much the same results - so don't worry about how much of each you really have.

Either roast or boil the beets until they're soft. At least an hour. Let them cool, and then peel and shred them using a food processor.

Chop the walnuts and prunes as finely as you wish, mince the garlic, and dump everything into a bowl for stirring together.  Let the salad cool in the refridgetator and then serve!

As a tasty variation, instead of mixing everything together in a bowl, throw all of the ingredients minus half the nuts and prunes into a Vita-mix and blend until somewhat smooth. Pour it out, and then mix in the remaining nuts and prunes. This gives the whole salad a somewhat creamy, yet crunchy texture.

*When it comes to mayonnaise - make your own! It's really easy and if you can't find a recipe elsewhere online, there will be one available on Psychic Lunch for you, soon. Making your own will let you rest assured that you're not eating any rancid oils or preservatives, which almost all store-bought mayonnaise has.

For more information, read John Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday - go read more real food stories!


Millie November 18, 2009 at 3:34 PM  

I love beets. The salad looks great. I lacto-fermented beets this year and they are wonderful. So much better than canned pickled beets.

kristyreal November 18, 2009 at 5:06 PM  

I was going to say the same thing. I grew up in the south which is decidedly not beet country. I discovered them when I started making fermented veggies and now I am a big fan!

psychiclunch November 18, 2009 at 8:21 PM  

My grandmother on my father's side had a large pantry and I recall it being absolutely filled with pickled beets. Sadly, I didn't love them at the time - but now, what I wouldn't give to have that kind of stock all the time :)

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Psychic Lunch was founded in 2009 by a nerd and father who wants people to be healthy. The information on this site is researched, but should be considered opinion; that is, you should always do your own research and come to your own conclusions about what is and what is not healthy. Products endorsed on this site are actually believed in and used by the author.


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