Eat your beets!

Beetroot, or beets, are root vegetables known for their deep red-purple color. They are rich in nutrients, including vitamins (like folate and vitamin C), minerals (such as potassium and manganese), and fiber. Beets have antioxidants and may contribute to heart health, lower blood pressure, and improved exercise performance. Beets are low in calories and fat, making them a healthy addition to various diets. They contain nitrates, which may have benefits for blood flow and exercise performance. Besides potential cardiovascular benefits, beets may support liver health, have anti-inflammatory properties, and aid digestion due to their fiber content. What a star health performer! 

The deep red variety is the most common, but look out for beets in different colors, including golden and white. Each type has a slightly different flavor profile.

 Beets can be eaten raw, or roasted, baked, boiled, steamed, pickled and juiced. So versatile! Roasting tends to enhance their natural sweetness. And don’t toss your beet greens! They are edible and nutritious, offering vitamins A and K. Sauté or add them to salads.

Beetroot has ancient roots! The wild beet, from which the modern beetroot is derived, was first cultivated by the ancient Romans and Greeks. Initially, it was the beet greens that were consumed, rather than the root. Then the Romans used beets for medicinal purposes, treating ailments such as fevers and constipation. And the Greeks also valued beets for their health benefits. By the 16th century, beets had spread to Europe, where they were selectively bred for their roots. The red beet we are familiar with today was developed in Europe around this time. In the 18th century, a German chemist discovered that beets could be used to produce sugar. This led to the development of sugar beets, a variety cultivated specifically for sugar production Beets became a staple in Eastern European cuisine, featuring prominently in dishes like borscht. Over time, they gained popularity worldwide and are now enjoyed in various culinary tradition. 

Beets have cultural significance in different regions, with many well-loved dishes from around the world.

  1. Borscht (Russia and Ukraine): A well-known beet soup, usually made with a base of beets, cabbage, and other vegetables. It can be served hot or cold and may include meat or be vegetarian.
  2. Salade de Betteraves (France): A classic French beet salad often made with roasted beets, goat cheese, walnuts, and vinaigrette.
  3. Beetroot Palya (India): A South Indian dish where beets are stir-fried with spices, mustard seeds, and grated coconut.
  4. Herring Under a Fur Coat (Shuba) - Russia: A layered salad featuring beets, potatoes, carrots, eggs, and herring, often covered with a mayonnaise or sour cream dressing.
  5. Beetroot Chutney (Sri Lanka): A spicy and tangy chutney made with grated beets, coconut, chili, and other spices.
  6. Barszcz (Poland): A Polish beetroot soup similar to borscht, usually served with dumplings or a dollop of sour cream.
  7. Beetroot Halwa (India): A sweet dessert made by cooking grated beets with ghee, milk, sugar, and cardamom until it forms a pudding-like consistency.
  8. Pickled Beets (United States): Commonly found in American cuisine, pickled beets are often served as a side dish or added to salads.

Now…go eat your beets!

SAGE Education and Events Coordinator Sandra Makdessi uses beetroot whenever it’s available locally and has kindly shared her favourite sweet and savoury beetroot recipes. 


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Best Beetroot Recipes

SAGE Education and Events Coordinator Sandra Makdessi uses beetroot whenever it’s available locally and has kindly shared her favorite sweet and savory recipes.  

  1. Beetroot stems salsa
  2. Quick Indian beetroot salad
  3. Beetroot, rhubarb and potato gratin
  4. Preserved Beetroot
  5. Beetroot salad with walnuts and cumin
  6. Lentils and Beets with Salsa Verde
  7. Beetroot and rhubarb salad (V)
  8. Chocolate and beetroot brownies
  9. Beet and Ginger Cake with Cream