Beets: A Versatile and Nutritious Vegetable

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The beet is a colorful and versatile vegetable that is a great addition to any vegetable garden or diet. Packed with nutrients and low in calories, beets are a popular ingredient in many delicious vegetable recipes. In this article, we will discuss how to grow beets, choose and prepare them, and explore their many health benefits.

About Beets

Beets have a swollen root that can be round or tapered, and come in a range of colors including red, yellow, and white. They sprout a rosette of large leaves and are scientifically known as Beta vulgaris. Beets are a hardy vegetable that can survive the first frost, but they may go to seed without making roots if they get too cold when young.

Growing Beets

Beets do best in cooler areas, but can tolerate frost. In hot climates, be sure to water and mulch seedlings to help them establish themselves, as roots can become woody in very hot weather. Plant beets two to three weeks before the average date of the last frost. Rows should be spaced 12 to 18 inches apart.

Plant beets in rows spaced 12 to 18 inches apart.

For more information about beets, check out our Vegetable Recipes section for delicious recipes featuring beets, or our Vegetable Gardens section for tips on growing a full harvest of great vegetables.

Beet roots are red, yellow or white.

For beets to grow well, they need to be planted in loose soil that is rich in organic matter and has a good supply of potassium. Acidic soil is not suitable for beets. The seeds are planted about an inch deep and an inch apart in rows that are 12 to 18 inches apart. The seedlings will emerge at different times, and they must be thinned to 2 to 3 inches apart when the seedlings develop true leaves. Beets can be harvested when they reach the desired size, which takes about 60 days for a 1.5-inch diameter beet. Both the leaves and the root of the beet can be eaten. There are several varieties of beets, such as Detroit Dark Red, Golden, Lutz Green Leaf, and Egyptian Flat.

When selecting beets, choose small, firm, and well-rounded ones with bright and crisp greens on top. The skins should be deep red, smooth, and unblemished, and the taproots should be thin. To prepare and serve beets, wash them gently, peel them after cooking, and be careful of their powerful pigments, which can stain utensils and cutting boards. Microwaving is the best way to retain the most nutrients, but they can also be steamed or roasted in the oven at 325°F.

Beets are a unique vegetable that have a sweet taste due to containing more sugar than starch. They can be enjoyed on their own or enhanced with salt, pepper, or olive oil. Beets are versatile and can be pickled, boiled, roasted, diced for salads, or even eaten raw. Additionally, beets are low in calories and have many health benefits. They are high in fiber, which helps fight fat, and contain nutrients that protect against heart disease, birth defects, and colon cancer. If you’re interested in learning more about beets, check out recipes featuring beets and other vegetables, how to prepare and cook beets, and gardening tips. Overall, beets are a delicious and healthy addition to any diet.

Beets contain high amounts of folic acid, calcium, and iron. Folic acid is crucial for women during their childbearing years to prevent neural-tube birth defects. However, both men and women need this nutrient for lifelong health since its long-term deficiency can cause heart disease and cervical cancer.

The nutritional values of fresh and cooked beets are as follows:
Serving size: 2 beets (2″ diameter each)

Calories 88
Fat <1 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Carbohydrate 20 g
Protein 3 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g
Sodium 154 mg
Folic Acid 160 micrograms
Magnesium 46 mg
Manganese <1 mg
Potassium 610 mg
Carotenoids 21 micrograms

If you want to learn more about beets, you can try checking out vegetable recipes that include beets, information about the nutritional value of beets, how to grow a full harvest of vegetables in your garden, or answers to your questions about gardening.

This information is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to offer medical advice. Neither the author nor publisher takes responsibility for any possible consequences resulting from reading or following the information contained in this text. It is not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Before starting any treatment, it is important to seek medical advice from a healthcare provider.

FAQ

1. What are beets?

Beets, also known as beetroot, are a root vegetable that is popular all around the world. They have a sweet, earthy flavor and come in a range of colors, from deep red to golden yellow, and even white. Beets are a great source of fiber, vitamin C, and minerals like potassium and manganese. They’re also low in calories, making them a great addition to any healthy diet.

2. How do you prepare beets?

Beets can be prepared in a variety of ways, depending on your preference. They can be roasted, boiled, steamed, or even eaten raw. To prepare beets, start by washing and peeling them. Then, cut them into whatever shape you desire, whether that’s cubes, wedges, or slices. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 400°F for 30-40 minutes, or until tender. Alternatively, boil or steam beets until they’re soft and then mash them with butter and herbs for a tasty side dish.

3. What are the health benefits of eating beets?

Eating beets can provide a range of health benefits. They’re high in fiber, which can help keep you feeling fuller for longer and aid in digestion. Beets are also rich in antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, beets contain nitrates, which can help lower blood pressure and improve athletic performance. Some studies have even suggested that beets may have anti-inflammatory properties and could help lower the risk of certain types of cancer.

4. Can you eat the leaves of beets?

Yes, you can eat the leaves of beets! In fact, beet greens are a nutritious and delicious part of the plant. They’re high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like calcium and iron. Beet greens can be cooked in the same way as spinach or kale, by sautéing, steaming, or boiling. They have a slightly bitter taste and pair well with garlic, lemon, and olive oil.

5. How long do beets last?

Fresh beets can last for several weeks if stored properly. To store beets, remove the greens and store them separately in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Beets can be stored in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or root cellar. They should last for up to two weeks if stored this way. If you’ve cooked beets, they can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

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