What’s in Season: Beets

We are proud to show you our go local video featuring this month’s star Ontario ingredient: beets! The past few months my days have been wholly encompassed by beets. Below is a link to the first Ryerson Eats video ever created that I had the lovely opportunity to help create. Check it out and leave your feedback below.

You might be relieved that love season is coming to an end. But don’t go running to the store to catch that chocolate sale just yet. Instead, try something your heart will actually thank you for. Beets are in season from May to October but can be stored throughout the winter and enjoyed all year long.

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Beets are biennials (plants that require two years to flower and set seed during their second growing season), which means they’re innately programmed for long storage. Beets are usually kept to eat over the cold months, following its natural growth cycle where it lies dormant during the winter. This is why Ryerson Eats recently showcased some delicious beet dishes on their menus. Can you name any?

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There are so many different colors of beets: Yellow, white, ruby red, and candy cane!

Storage and Greens

When storing beets at the height of their freshness it is important to remove the beet greens. It might seem like a waste because they are really so luscious. But fact is, you can eat the greens too. In ancient times the greens were the only part of the beet that was eaten. Below is a recipe that can be made as a side dish to anything. My favourite pairing is with scrambled eggs in the morning!

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Beets are a natural dye, so be careful of staining your clothes while chopping these pretty babies up!

Here is a breakfast recipe that’s quick and delicious – also …Bacon *mic drop* -.

Beet Greens with Bacon 
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Serves 4

Ingredients
• 3 beets (greens intact)
• 4 slices bacon, chopped
• 4 scallions, sliced
• Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions
1. Cut greens off beets. Remove leaves from stems and discard the stems.
2. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium until golden brown, 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate; pour off all but 1 teaspoon fat from skillet.
3. Add scallions and cook until softened, 1 minute.
4. In two batches, add beet leaves and cook until tender, 5 minutes.
5. Season with salt and pepper and stir in bacon. Enjoy as part of a wholesome breakfast; on the side of scrambled eggs and some sliced apples.

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Keeping the beet roots intact while cooking helps to preserve nutrients

Breakfast is the perfect time to incorporate some vegetables as this is usually the meal of the day where most people don’t. By choosing beets, you are choosing to protect your heart and body.

Did you know?

• Beets are rich in nitrates which can decrease risk of heart and kidney disease by lowering blood pressure
• The red pigments in beets are called betalains. They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
• Yellow beets are higher in lutein which aids in preserving your eyesight.
• Beets are a source of folate, a B vitamin. Folate is important for blood cell health, and the repair of DNA.

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I’m a wannabe photographer.  Mel humored me at our beet shoot.

“It’s also worth knowing that 1 cup of cooked beets only contains about 50 calories. Like all vegetables, beets can give you a bang for your buck and body because they are nutrient – but not calorie- dense!”

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Brent from The New Farm holding the beautiful beets he grows

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These candy cane beets are glorious! A colorful alternative to your red beet. Why not shake things up?

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Talk about whole foods! All parts of the beet are edible. Zero waste.

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All colors, shapes and sizes! Don’t you love how the stem matches the color of the beet? Thats a sneaky way of finding out which beet you’re getting without slicing it open.

Don’t boil your beets…

Speaking of nutrients, it’s important to take note of the cooking method before beginning to cook your beet dish. Certain cooking methods will allow you to preserve the nutrients of the beet while others will cause them to leech rapidly. Preserving the nutrients is what your heart really wants. Below is a list of the better prep methods for beets with regards to nutrient preservation:

• Eat them raw! Sliced or shredded, these babies are akin to cabbage. Just be ready for red hands!
• Microwave them in a dish with skin on, 1 inch of the root intact, and 2 inches of the stems intact in 2-4 tablespoons of water for 10-15 minutes.
• Steam them for 15 minutes with skin on, 1 inch of the root intact, and 2 inches of the stems intact
• Wrap them in foil and roast them with skin-on, 1 inch of the root intact, and 2 inches of the stems intact for less than an hour

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Here’s a great slaw recipe, because I really love slaw, and it makes a great meal or side dish to anything you like!

Scarlet Slaw 

Adapted from Rachel Ray

Serves 6

Ingredients
• 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 2 tbsp raspberry jam
• 1.5 tsp dijon mustard
• 4 cups red cabbage (shredded)
• 2 beetroots (small, peeled and grated)
• 2 basil leaves (thinly sliced)

Directions
1. In bowl, whisk the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, raspberry jam and mustard until smooth.
2. Toss with cabbage and beets; season. Let stand 10 minutes.
Toss again and sprinkle with basil before serving. Enjoy this slaw as part of a wholesome lunch; on the side of a homemade veggie burger or steamed salmon with wild rice

 

And if you have some extra beets laying around after, you could do this…they really are versatile! 

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Cassandra Gentile 
Ryerson Eats Nutrition Intern

Categories: Uncategorized

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