Sandi is still cleaning up purple, pink and red polka-dots off the floor and walls after a recent dinner party which involved a certain red root vegetable, dear friends, and a 2 year old who had never seen beets.
The rich, magenta colored balls captivated the tike who reached out for the steaming bowl as four shrieking, horror-struck adults simultaneously leaped to avert the inevitable tragedy in red. Startled, the child flailed her hands in excitement, struck the serving bowl, sending jets of molten, scarlet liquid globules onto the ceiling, walls, chandelier, grandmas filigree tablecloth, the carpet, our guests, and the bewildered dog. Convulsive laughter ensued as everyone agreed we resembled the waiting room at a measles clinic.
Crunchy, earthy, beets date back to prehistoric times where beets where grown for the medicinal quality of their tops, related to chard, spinach, and quinoa. As Charlemagne was leaving his mark on the French empire, the beet was becoming embraced. During the 16th century, the beet traveled from France to Germany where it was known as Roman Beet. Reminiscent of the Romans, the ‘beet-went-on’ and crossed the English Channel. From there the technicolor orb landed on Thanksgiving tables throughout the New World.
Beets brim with vitamin C, folate, potassium, manganese, calcium, iron, beta carotene, sulfur, iodine, copper, carbohydrates, protein, vitamin P, and vitamins B1, B2, B6, niacin, anti-cancer agents and colon-cleansing fiber, ala roto-rooter. The plant-nutrients in beets help rid the temple of those naughty fatty deposits and maintain whole health. Be sure to include the tops which are packed with beta-carotene and a bounty of anti-cancer compounds. The greens contain oxalic acid which may inhibit our body from absorbing calcium and iron, so don’t go nuts.
Heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory ruby jewels can be roasted, steamed, boiled, sautéed’, or preferably eaten raw (grated) in a salad or blended smoothie. Beets lose a lot of their nutritional value if cooked more than 15 minutes. It beets me why beets bleed, but, please don’t let that prevent you from eating the root and its nutritious leaves. Powdered mixes, meh, not nearly as effective as fresh and raw.
My physician brother in Vermont told me a story about a frightened male patient, alarmed by his psychedelic ruby stool. The red-faced patient, however, was relieved to learn it was only his excessive friendship with his very first harvest of beets.