Beets : An Autumn Staple , with recipes!!!
Suzanne Brett, Holistic Nutritionist | BLOG CONTRIBUTOR
Lyndsey Eden | PHOTOGRAPHY
We’re excited about beets this month at Nourish!!!
They are a pretty special ingredient to us, as you might notice from our logo.
Gently pulling them out from below that lovely nutrient rich soil reminds us of the lovely fall harvests that are about to begin. Fall root veggies are excellent for grounding our busy summer bodies. The nutritious vibrancy of beets is what make us so excited to share a bit about them with you.
Root vegetables in general are meant to be grounding. Directly relating to our root chakras, they can help us find relief from anxiety and connect with our families and foundations.
Betalains are the phytonutrient that gives beets their bright beautiful colour. They’re also the nutrient responsible for the powerful health promoting properties of beets. Betalains are found in both the fibrous peel and the flesh of the beet. Like almost every root vegetable, it’s important to eat them fresh and keep the peel on, for maximum nutrient absorption as well as to increase the impact of detoxification.
Beets are antioxidant rich and anti-inflammatory, which makes them specifically useful for those undergoing cancer treatment. They help to decrease inflammation in the area where the tumor resides, and promote cell protection.
The nutrients that make them so rich in anti-oxidants are also what make them so sensitive to oxidization. Once prepared, it’s best to consume immediately, or store them properly to maintain their optimal nutritional efficacy.
Beets are high in Folate, otherwise known as B9. Folate is essential for pregnant mamas to help decrease the risk of neural tube defects, making beets an incredible food to include regularly in a pre-natal diet. Folate also provides cell protection and maintenance, helping contribute to those awesome anti-cancer fighting benefits listed above.
Manganese, which is essential for proper metabolic function and a helpful tool in creating digestive enzymes (a happy, healthy gut!) can also be obtained from beets.
Cooking Beets in just a tiny bit of water - not a full boil, just a quick steam - is the best way to preserve the majority of nutrients if not preparing them raw. To prepare beets raw, try grating them over a salad or making them into a kvaas (recipe below). Gently steaming beets and pureeing them into a sauce – like our wonderful beet horseradish puree (recipe also below!) - is another creative way to use this nutritional powerhouse.
Being a quick growing and hardy veggie, it’s not too late to plant beets in your garden now.
If you’re eager, pick up some organic beets from your local grocer and try these gorgeous Nourish recipes. Happy Autumn!
BEET HORSERADISH PUREE
This puree is a lovely accompaniment to nearly anything. It’s sweet, dirty and pungent. The pungency of the horseradish is what makes this excellent for fall, helping to support the lungs. It’s my personal favorite on a sandwich!
500g red beets, peeled and grated using cheese grater
10 g horseradish, chopped finely
7 g salt
80 g grapeseed, avocado, or other neutral oil
Apple cider vinegar to taste
Combine beets with salt and mash using your hands or a wooden spoon to help them release their moisture. Allow to sit for 2 hrs. After this time, beets will have released some of their liquid. The idea here is to use this liquid to steam the beets (rather than adding extra water), resulting in a strong, pure beet flavor.
Transfer salted beets, along with their released liquid to a small pot, cover tightly with aluminum foil or a tight fitting lid and place on the stove on very low heat. Allow to steam for 40 minutes and check the beets. They'll be ready when you're able to mash them with the back of a spoon. If the beets are not ready yet, check the level of moisture remaining in the pot. If it seems like you'll need more liquid, add up to 1/4 C water, otherwise cover the pot again and continue cooking for 10-15 more minutes. Repeat this process as necessary until beets are ready.
Once beets are soft enough, transfer them to a blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend on high speed until a very smooth puree forms.
This dressing freezes very well, and can be used as a vegetable puree. It can also be thinned with more oil and vinegar to create a lighter dressing.
Consuming Kvaas (fermented beets) is great for increasing overall nutrient content and providing lovely healthy probiotics for our gut. This recipe yields 1 litre of Kvass.
2 red beets
1 litre water
leftover Kvass from previous batch (if available - don't worry if this is your first batch!)
Make a brine by dissolving 20g salt into 1 litre of water (this is a 2% brine, as the salt to water ratio is 2%).
Peel and chop beets into large chunks. Place beets in freshly sterilized gallon jar. Add what's left of your previous batch of kvass (if available) and top with your 2% brine. If this is your first batch of Kvass, you can use a smaller jar. Adding older Kvass will help your new batch ferment faster.
Weigh beets down so there's no contact with oxygen, using a couple of mason jar lids that fit inside your bigger jar, or a cabbage leaf placed over the beets. Loosely cover jar with lid, and ferment at room temperature until desired flavor is achieved (3-5 days).
How will you know when it's ready? See this article for tips on fermenting!