Thursday, May 26, 2011

Our garden recipes - up first, beets!

My mother-in-law makes what must surely be among the world's best borschts, so I wasn't entirely surprised when my husband suggested we add beets to our garden plot this year. I was on board, but the boys took a little more convincing. They know that anything we grow in our garden is going to end up on their plates, so it was with what can only be described as modest enthusiasm that they agreed to help me plant them.

I get that beets aren't everyone's favourite vegetable. But they are one of mine. I love their earthy taste when they are roasted, their tart bite when they are pickled, the way they pair with orange, honey, dill, blue cheese or lemon. And you can't beat the beautiful colours of the roots, vibrant reds and golden oranges, and their deep green leaves.  They are worth growing simply for their lush beauty as you pull them from the soil.

Now as I do my cancer prevention research, I learn wonderful things about beets, both the roots and the greens. They are packed with folate which helps build strong bones.  They are a good source of potassium, an important mineral for heart function which may also decrease one's risk for stroke and osteoporosis. They contain magnesium, a mineral vital for maintaining bone health, and are loaded with the powerful antioxidant beta-carotene. They also contain betacyanin, a phytochemical that may have anti-cancer properties.

So if I haven't convinced you to give them anther try by now, you are one tough cookie. Maybe some recipes will soften you up?
  1. First up, a great selection of recipes at Canadian Living. How about Beet and Orange Salad, Beet Risotto with Rapini, Beet, Apple and Spinach Salad, Honey Lemon Beets, or Sesame Wilted Beet Greens?
  2. Golden and Crimson Beet Salad with Oranges, Fennel and Feta from Epicurious.
  3. Grated Beet Salad with Blue Cheese from the kitchn at Apartment Therapy.
  4. Beet Greens from Simply Recipes. A touch of bacon, some garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a splash of cider vinegar make this a worthy side dish for your next roast chicken or poached salmon.
  5. Finally, Eating Well's best beet recipes which includes Roasted Beet Crostini, Borscht, Beet Carpaccio, Salmon and Roasted Vegetable Salad, and Roasted Halibut with Pickled Beets.
Convinced you yet? I will just ask you what I ask the boys - promise me you'll just try them. You never know!

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