Beets are a root vegetable. It has been known since the second millennium BC. Ancient Romans used beet leaves for food and root vegetables for medicinal purposes. Ancient Greeks offered beets as gifts to the god Apollo.
Beets are widely used in dishes of Russian cuisine. But it is also a popular vegetable in the West.
Since XVI-XVII centuries, the division of beets into varieties – forage, sugar, table and leaf. The main type of plant is an ordinary beet.
Fodder beet was bred in Germany in the 16th century. This crop is unpretentious and with a high yield. Varieties of fodder beet differ in shape and color of the root. They are often red, white or yellow. It is used to feed livestock. Fodder beets contain 5-8 g of carbohydrates, 9 g of proteins and 1 to 3% sucrose. Unlike table and sugar beets it has a high fiber content.
- The shape is rounded or oval;
- The color is red, pink, orange;
- haulm is less dense (35-40 leaves), beet-colored, green;
- leaves small, egg-shaped, glossy, green.
Since the middle of the 18th century, scientists have been studying the sugar content of beets. And then the German chemist Andreas Marggraf deduced that sugar beets have as much sugar content as sugar cane. And in 1802 the first factory for the production of sugar from beets was opened. Today, sugar beet is the second, after sugar cane, plant from which sugar is made.
Sugar beets are used to make ethanol, which is used to make gasoline. Ethanol can replace diesel fuel. It is also used to feed livestock. It is not used for food purposes. Sugar beets have a composition: 20 g carbohydrates, 0.12 g proteins and about 20% sucrose.
- The shape is elongated;
- The color is white, beige, gray;
- Foliage is thick (50-60 leaves), green;
- Leaves are small, unsightly, light green.
People eat table beets. It contains a large number of macro and micronutrients, vitamins, folic acid. The table variety of beets in cooking is used for salads, soups, snacks, drinks and even desserts. It is the main ingredient in the dish “borscht”. Table beets come in various shapes – round or oblong. Elongated beets are said to be more aromatic and sweeter than round ones.
Mangold (leafy beet)
There is a salad variety of table beet – mangold. It is the foliage that is valuable in it. It contains magnesium, sodium, potassium. The useful properties of chard were known even to doctors in ancient Rome. The plant was used as a laxative. Leafy beets are much more useful than ordinary beets: their greens contain many times more vitamins and minerals.
Mangold is called Roman cabbage or beet. There are two kinds – stem chard (similar to beet leaves with veins and stems of red, yellow or green) and chives, which resemble spinach. In cooking, chard is used for a variety of salads. And its low caloric value (19 kcal per 100 grams) allows to diversify the diet menu. A similar food product to the chard are grape leaves. Leafy beets can replace spinach in taste, and their stalks resemble asparagus.
Properties and Composition of Beets
Beets are the leader among fruits and vegetables in terms of iodine content. It contains many valuable trace elements, especially iron, magnesium, potassium, molybdenum. A huge number of vitamins, most of all in a beet vitamin C, group B, P, PP.
Beets contain a lot of betaine, an amino acid. These elements help the liver, protect it from toxins. According to studies, it has been proven that beet juice can be used additionally in the treatment of stomach and colon cancer. Only freshly squeezed juice is used for such treatment.
The component betaine is extracted from beets and is sold in the form of tablets for therapeutic purposes. Betaine improves the digestibility of protein in the body. Applying beet garnish to meat is not only tasty, but also very useful additive that protects the liver.
Beets are also found to be high in iron and copper. It can be used in disorders of hematopoiesis, with a lack of hemoglobin. Beets are necessary to reduce blood pressure and eliminate excess cholesterol.
Application of beets for medicinal purposes.
Beets are very useful for improving digestion and bowel function. Beet and carrot jam is popular in England. This outstanding recipe of beet dish became known in the 19th century and was first published in Mrs. Beaton’s famous cookbook “Home Farming”. Jam serves as a vitamin and mineral boost for the body, and as a great immune booster.
To improve health, it is recommended to drink beet juice three times a day before meals. Juice can be squeezed from both fruits and leaves. The leaves also contain a large number of useful substances. Beet leaves are used to treat inflammatory processes, diabetes, obesity, for the prevention of cancer, normalizes blood pressure.
It should be said that beets are high in oxalic acid. People who have problems with urolithiasis and other kidney and bladder diseases should limit the consumption of beets.
Calories and nutritional value of beets
The caloric value of beets is 42 kcal.
Nutritional value of beets: protein – 1.5 g, fat – 0.1 g, carbohydrates – 8.8 g
Boiled beets retain all their useful elements.
What are the benefits of boiled beets?
Boiled beets have a positive effect on the circulatory system. Since ancient times, beets have been used as a cure for anemia. The high iron content in beets increases the level of hemoglobin in the blood.
Boiled beets contain antioxidants that protect the body from harmful germs and microorganisms. They also contribute to the rejuvenation of skin cells and are effective in the fight against early aging of the body.
Boiled beets have a soothing effect. It is useful to use for people who constantly face stress, worry, suffer from nervous disorders.
Proved positive effect of boiled beets to increase sex drive in men, with frequent use of the product in the menu.
Beneficial boiled beets for the digestive tract. Helps cleanse the intestines from toxins and waste products. It is useful for constipation, as it has a mild laxative effect.
Boiled beets are useful for weight loss. It is a dietary product. The caloric value of boiled beets is 50 kcal per 100 grams of product.
Useful boiled beets for nursing women. It saturates a woman’s body with useful components, has no allergic qualities.
There are also contraindications to the use of cooked beets for people with high acidity of the stomach, does not allow full absorption of calcium. Forbidden for people with diabetes.
How to Cook Beets
Beets can be eaten raw, boiled, fried, sauteed, pickled, baked or leafy.
How to bake beets?
Baked beets in the oven
- Beets are well washed, dried.
- Each root beet wrapped in foil in 2-3 layers, before rubbing with olive oil and season with salt and ground black pepper.
- Place in a casserole dish or on a baking tray and put it in a heated oven at 220 degrees F (428°F) for 1 to 2 hours.
- The baking time depends on the size of the beets.
- Check readiness with a wooden stick. If the stick goes in easily – beets are ready.
Beets on the grill
Grilled beets are all the benefits of baked beets and a smoky flavor.
- You can also use foil.
- On a grill with medium heat, place beets on a large sheet of foil.
- Sprinkle with vegetable oil, season with salt and ground black pepper.
- Cover with remaining foil, as if sealing the beets in an airtight “bag.”
- Cook on the grill for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the tubers.
- Serve with grilled meats or as a stand-alone dish.
- Cut beets into cubes or slices.
- Dip into batter and stir-fry, or even without batter.
- You can chop it, roll it in flour, preferably rice flour with salt and ground black pepper, cumin or thyme and fry in boiling oil.
- Or grate beets, make pancakes and fry in oil.
- Good to add to salads fresh.
- Young petioles of the plant can be boiled and fried, baked in sauces.
- When making soup, add the chard 10 minutes before the end of cooking.
- Cut leaves into strips.
- To preserve the color of beets when boiling, add a tablespoon of vinegar directly into the pot.
- Cooking time depends on the size of the fruit, on average 40-50 minutes.
- Before cooking, peel and cut beets do not need to not to boil useful vitamins and minerals.
Beets after boiling do not lose their sweetness and color. The easiest way to serve: cut into thin slices, pour yogurt, cream or sour cream, sprinkle with delicious olive oil and season with salt.
- Cooking time takes 40 minutes.
- Rinse the beets, boil until soft, cool, peel and slice.
- Place in jars.
- For the marinade, mix the water with the sugar, bring to a boil, boil for a few minutes and pour in the vinegar.
- Pour hot marinade over beet and seal.
- For pickling you can take vinegar, sugar, salt, dill, garlic, black currant, raspberry and cherry leaves, mustard powder and black pepper peas.
Pickled beets are a combination of sour vinegar and sweet beet flavors. Use such beets in a sandwich, sandwich, burger/hamburger, salad and even in borscht.
- Cooking time takes 50-60 minutes.
- Rinse the beets under water and dry them.
- Peel them and cut into small cubes or grate them on a coarse grater.
- Boil water and salt for 10 minutes in a pot.
- Place the sliced root vegetables in jars and pour the marinade.
- Close the jars and put them in a cool, dark place.
- The product is ready to eat in 10 days.
Dried beets are beet chips without cooking in a deep fryer.
These snacks are great as a snack option on the road, at work, or at school.
For these chips, it’s best to dried slices of already baked beets.
Use of dried beets: as a dish on its own, sprinkle powdered chips on appetizers and salads, decorate dishes.
To eat raw beets, they must be sweet and juicy.
- Cut into thin slices.
- Sprinkle with a spicy mixture of cumin, lemon zest, salt and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.
- Or slice and mix with a celery club of the same size, finely chopped dill and orange fillets. It turns out a quick, healthy salad. We dress the vinaigrette with lemon juice.
Quick and Easy Dishes from Raw Beets
1. Try making vegetable noodles.
- Cut the beets.
- Fast marinate it in red wine vinegar and salt it.
2. To make beet juice:
- Take raw beets and juicer.
- Peel and cut the beets into four to six pieces.
Beet juice can easily be mixed with the juice of carrots, apples, pears, pineapple, ginger, cucumber, orange, raspberries or cherries.
Beet juice is used to make smoothies and smoothies, mixing it with spinach, banana, mango, coconut milk or natural yogurt. Shredded tots can be added to the drinks.
3. Sweet beet puree.
- It is used for baking.
- It gives color not only to dough, but also to cream, mousse, soufflé, frosting.
- Sometimes a few drops of puree (or freshly squeezed juice) are enough for a ruby or bright pink color.
Beet puree is used in desserts and for baking: to make ice cream, pancakes, waffles, pancakes, cheesecakes, muffins, brownies, mousse and candy.
How to Choose Beets?
A few things to look for when choosing beets:
- Look closely at the root vegetable to choose a ripe and tasty beet (table beets are smaller and darker in color, while forage beets are larger and have a lighter hue);
- pay attention to the condition of the skin (should be dense, reddish, without any damage).
When selecting leafy beets, pay attention to the freshness of their leaves and petioles. There should not be any damage or sluggishness.
Methods for Storing Beets
The optimal storage temperature for beets is about +4 ° C. Humidity – 90-95%.
1.Stack on top of potatoes.
Choosing a place for storing vegetables, make a wooden container. In it we put potatoes in bulk on the bottom and beets on top in 2-3 rows. In this storage the potatoes will not rot, and beets do not wilt. Shelf life of beets at room temperature is 3-4 months.
2. In plastic bags in the refrigerator.
The bag should be tight. Fill the beets in the bag by two-thirds, and tie them, but not tightly to the vegetables, so that there was air circulation. You can also wrap the root vegetables in clingfilm, and store them in the refrigerator for a month. The temperature for storing beets in the refrigerator should be +4 ° C (+6 … +8 for it is warm).
Shredded beets stored in the refrigerator in a closed container for a few days, and at room temperature – no more than 12 hours.
3. In the freezer.
Beets store very well in the freezer. Before freezing the root vegetables should be thoroughly washed, dried, cut into slices, packed in bags or containers and sent to the freezer. It is ideal to pack beets in portions, for the preparation of a single dish.
Beets can be kept in the freezer for 8 to 12 months. Freezing is also suitable for boiled beets and leafy beets.
The maximum shelf life of beets reaches 1 year if all the necessary conditions.
How do I know if a beet is spoiled?
When spoiled beets, they become slippery, soft, there may be a white coating on top of the root, it becomes sluggish, there is an unpleasant smell. If the temperature conditions have been violated – on the beets form black pockets. After the expiration of the shelf life of the product-it also can not be used.
Types of Slicing Beets
The most popular and basic types of slicing beets – straw, slices, cubes, slices and grated. They and let’s analyze them in detail.
There are decorative types of slices: balls, stars, flowers, scallops, use such figures to decorate dishes.
Straw sliced beets are used for borsch, beet soup, vegetable cutlets and some types of salad. The standard straw is 3-5 cm long and 0.2 cm thick.
- Cut off a small edge of the beet and put the slice down on a board. The root vegetable is rounded, so it is necessary to do so for convenience when slicing.
- Cut beets into thin circles, not more than 5 mm.
- We stack the circles and begin to shred thin straw.
Beets are more often used for pickling. And they are sliced the same way as straw, only thicker.
- We cut the beets into thick slices, 1-1.5 cm thick.
- We stack 2-3 circles and cut them into bars, cross section of 1-1,5 cm
This type of slicing of beets is used to prepare stewed vegetables. The size of the cubes is standard 1-1,5 cm.
- Cut beets into circles. The thickness is equal to the edge of the desired cube.
- Collect a few pieces in a stack of circles and cut them into sticks or slices. The thickness should be as thick as it was to cut the circles.
- The resulting straw cut across the dice with the same thickness.
This slicing method is used for raw and for cooked beets. The thickness of one slice is 1 cm. Beets of this kind of slicing are used for making Siberian borscht and for baking.
1.Peel the beets (boiled or raw), cut into two halves.
2. Cut each part of the root into slices. The thickness is 0.7-1.5 cm.
Beet Cooking Ideas
The delicate taste of this salad will be able to surprise the most sophisticated foodie. A mix of flavors – light sweetness from the caramelized nuts and juiciness from the beets, spiciness from the spinach.
Beet soup perfectly quenches our thirst and satiates us with healthy vitamins and substances. A summer soup in which you can add a variety of your favorite vegetables.
You could call this salad a vitamin splash. The sourness from the dressing pairs perfectly with the sweet flavor of the pumpkin and beets. Rucola can be replaced with other greens: dill, parsley, lettuce.
If you don’t happen to have goat cheese, you can substitute it for feta or bryndza cheese. A very light salad. Good for a variety of diet menus.
Combination of fruit and vegetables in one dish. A colorful and refreshing salad.
Beets are one of the main ingredients in borscht. It gives a beautiful red color to this dish and complements the taste. You can serve small croutons or buns with garlic to the borscht.
One of the famous traditional Georgian dishes. You can use regular beets and chard.
Dessert with beets. Beautiful and original. Will delight nut lovers.
Cold dessert. Similar in consistency to mousse.
Pancake lovers will appreciate this dessert. Regular wheat flour can be used.
The combination of cocoa powder and grated beets gives a sweet chocolate flavor. A wonderful dessert to please your loved ones in the New Year’s holidays.