Beets are a polarizing vegetable. Many love the red root, while others despise its existence. If you are in the second category, I must suggest that you reconsider. When beets are in season in British Columbia, as they are now, they can make refreshing salads and delicious side dishes. They are also extremely good for your health. Beets can grow into the winter, making them a resilient crop that will continue to be fresh while other vegetables slowly end their growing season.
Beets are a very good source of folate and manganese. Folate, also known as folic acid, helps make and repair your DNA. Folic acid also helps in aiding rapid cell division and growth, most needed during pregnancy and infancy. Folate is also necessary in producing healthy red blood cells. Manganese has a detoxifying effect on the body. It is an important element in our development and metabolism, and in our antioxidant system. With these benefits, it becomes evident that eating beets helps keep your body healthy. It is also worth noting that beet greens, located on top of the beetroot, are actually more nutritious than the beetroot itself. Beet greens are a source of fiber, potassium, iron, vitamins A and C, and various minerals.
Through the winter’s frost beets will grow. In fact, they can continue to grow in almost freezing temperatures. In World War II, one Russian city survived Nazi-occupation by eating beets, as they were the only crop that would grow during this harsh time.
To store beets, you can freeze, can, or pickle them. However, as with nearly all food, beets are best when they are fresh. What follows is Mama Friesen’s beet salad recipe. This recipe is a delicious side dish that has a beautiful presentation and can compliment nearly any meal. Try it at your next dinner party or family gathering.
Mama Friesen’s Beet Salad
5 medium-sized beets
1 package goat cheese (flavoured or not)
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
½ cup cherry tomatoes
¼ – ½ cup fresh dill
Greens (preferably Asian greens, arugula, spring greens,
or a combination of the three)
Salt and Pepper
½ cup balsamic crema (thick balsamic vinegar)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh dill (chopped)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
To roast your pumpkin seeds: Put the seeds in an 8-inch square-baking pan. Toast the seeds on bake at 325 Fahrenheit for approximately 10 minutes or until the seeds are lightly browned.
To roast your beets: Put the beets in aluminum foil as they are (skin on and everything). Drizzle some olive oil and crack some salt and pepper onto the beets. Close the foil around the beets. Roast in the oven at 350 Fahrenheit, for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your beets. Poke with a fork to check if they are tender.
Remove the beets from the oven and let them sit until they are cool enough to handle. Then, cut the roots off and peel the beet. Slice your beets into rounds.
On a large platter, spread your greens to form a bed for your beets. Layer your sliced beets on top of the greens. Crumble the goat cheese onto the top of your beets. Then, sprinkle over your toasted pumpkin seeds. Scatter the tomatoes on top of that. Chop your fresh dill over all.
Combine all your dressing ingredients together. Whisk and pour over the salad.
(This recipe was adapted from White Water Cooks At Home by Shelley Adams)
Websites consulted for this article: