Beets are perhaps the only vegetable that taste almost the same whether they're from a can or cooked fresh. In spite of that fact, I take the long route and always buy beets fresh to avoid the sodium content of canned foods.
They are mostly a spring vegetable and are available now in two places that I know of:
1. at our local farmer's market (Saturdays 8AM - 2PM) and
2. at Parker Farms' stand on Trent Road, behind Moore's BBQ (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from Noon to 5:30, and Saturdays 10AM - 1PM).
When beets are out of season locally, I buy them at Harris Teeter or Wal-Mart. If you have never learned to appreciate this deeply hued vegetable, it's not too late to make an effort. Considered to be blood builders, detoxifiers and anti-inflammatory, beets are loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C. They also contain choline, folic acid, iodine, iron, manganese, organic sodium, potassium, fiber and carbohydrates in the form of natural digestible sugars.
Do you think fresh beets are too expensive? Think again. You're actually getting two vegetables in one. Don't throw those green tops away. Cook them like spinach, because they taste almost the same. And, believe it or not, the greens have all the nutrients of the roots magnified.
Thanks to a friend who has a large vegetable garden, we have been eating beets and beet greens for several weeks and loving it.
Here's my simple recipe for a delicious beet salad.
Roasted Beet-Feta Cheese Salad
Rating: 9 out of 10
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INGREDIENTS: 4 medium beet roots, cut from green tops, scrubbed
2 tsp. + 1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided use
Sea salt and pepper
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. honey
2 Tbsp. Feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp. toasted, broken walnuts
Heat oven to 400F. Place beets in oven-proof dish and drizzle with 2 tsp. oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Roast in oven, uncovered, about 40 minutes, or till a fork can be inserted in beet without resistance. Cool. Trim tops and bottoms of beets; peel and slice; place in serving dish. Drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil, vinegar and honey. Toss to combine. Sprinkle cheese and walnuts over top and serve. Yield: 4 servings