Why do we love beets?
Beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, yet are very low in calories. Betacyanin is the pigment that gives beets their rich, purpley color is a powerful cancer-fighter. Studies have demonstrated beets’ antioxidant effectiveness against colon cancer and heart disease.
Do not worry, you are not alone.
Jasmine works in Norwalk and lives in Milford. We met and bonded at the checkout counter of Wild Oats Grocery Store in Westport carrying freshly made cups of juice.
“I’m a beat freak,” she toasted me with her cup.
“Me too,” I toasted back and let her step in front of me in line.
“Beet and carrot?” she stared through the plastic cup to examine the contents. I nodded yes. “Why does your beet juice look beetier than mine?”
“I have beet, carrot and ginger juice,” I slurped another delicious gulp. She had bought the beet, carrot and apple juice special. The apple juice diluted the more vibrant red and orange creation I first tasted at a fresh juice stand in Hana, Maui. It’s my favorite drink.
“Why don’t you taste mine?” I offered since we were both using straws.
Her eyebrows shot up in momentary shock before I asked the juice maker to please put the remainder of my drink into a fresh cup for her. I slid a fresh straw through the slit in the top. “Delicious!” she murmured before taking another bigger slurp.
How to prepare beets and avoid a mess:
There’s nothing tastier, healthier or messier than fresh beets. The first time I bought and prepared fresh beets was 27 years ago. My parents drove up from Richmond, Virginia to visit me in my new home in Norwalk, CT and cold beet borsht was my father’s favorite soup.
My father grinned and said, “This is a most creative borsht.”
My mother simply asked, “Why bother with fresh beets? I only use canned beets. It’s a lot less trouble.”
I used to buy the biggest beets I could find so I’d have less to peel but the smaller, younger beets are the most tender. Beets can be stored in the refrigerator, unwashed, for two to four weeks. I use the greens in soups, and bake, broil or boil the roots.
Peeling the beets was a mess. My fingers and nails turned bright red. My white countertops tinted pink and an ugly brownish stain grew on the floor from a few dropped peels. The beets didn’t cook up enough to fill up all of the water in the pot. I kept peeling and adding more beets but since I’d been adding more raw beets to partially cooked ones, there were both soft, fully cooked beets and still crunchy undercooked pieces in every spoonful.
Through the years I’ve learned to peel the beets directly into the garbage, after they’ve been cooked, while wearing plastic gloves to protect my skin and nails. Then I learned from Martha Stewart to put the cooked beets directly into an ice bath and simply rub the peels off.
I love fresh beets, still hate the mess. The best way to satisfy a beet freak, without the mess is to take a break at a fresh fruit juice bar. Create your own high energy, low calorie fresh fruit beet drink, or try my fave. It’s Jasmine’s too.