Food & Drink

When you think of beets, think ‘healing food’

Beets are always cooked before serving and can be used whole, sliced, shredded and diced. The beet greens can be served raw in salads or cooked.
Beets are always cooked before serving and can be used whole, sliced, shredded and diced. The beet greens can be served raw in salads or cooked. Getty Images/iStockphoto

From juice to salads to entrees, beets benefit the body’s health.

Folk medicine has touted the health properties of beets in helping fight cancer and birth defects for years. The compound that gives beets the rich color, betacyanin, is said to be a powerful tumor-fighting agent, said Eleonore Blaurock-Busch, Ph.D., of Trace Minerals International in Boulder, Colorado.

“Beet juice is used in Europe for the treatment of cancer,” Blaurock-Busch said in Prevention Magazine’s “New Foods for Healing” book.

The amount of B vitamin folate in beets is a definite plus. A half cup of beets contains nearly 11 percent of the daily value of folate, certainly great for pregnant women. Folate helps prevent birth defects.

Tune into late-night television and see the ads for beet powder, which can be turned into beet juice. This info commercial says the juices gives extra energy and helps skin color.

Increasing the intake of beets also provides iron to the body. While not as much as beef, the vegetable is great for those who have reduced meat intake, according to “New Foods for Healing.”

Readers, do any of you drink beet juice? I asked for beets recipes and have shared some in the past, but please feel free to send more.

Researchers say that beets and beet juice also help detoxify the liver.

Beets are always cooked before serving and can be used whole, sliced, shredded and diced. The beet greens can be served raw in salads or cooked.

“New Foods for Healing” says some folks may shy away from beets because they can be hard to work with. They have a strong flavor, larger ones are often tough, and they bleed red.

“The New Taste of Home Cookbook” suggests shoppers buy small to medium beets, no larger than 2 inches in diameter. Shoppers should select firm, deep red, round beets with unwilted green tops. The skin should be smooth, unblemished and unbroken. Beet greens should have a reddish tint.

More storage and prep tips from “The New Taste of Home Cookbook”:

▪  Remove greens 2 inches from beets. If planning to use the greens, store separately in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to three days.

▪  Store uncooked beets in an open plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer for about two weeks.

▪  Freeze cooked beets for up to a year.

▪  Wash beets gently. Do not peel or trim beets to help them maintain their flavor and color after cooking.

▪  If you cook beets in hard water, their brilliant color fades. To prevent this, try adding a small amount of vinegar to the cooking water.

The beet color bleeds when they are cut. To protect your hands, wear plastic gloves when peeling and cutting. One pound of beets equals 2 1/2 cups sliced or cubed.

For those who do not want to use fresh beets, canned beets work nearly as well. They still have good nutritive value and are easier to use.

Reader needs beverage help

Eva Cuevas wants two drink recipes. She wants readers’ help in finding an old-time cooked eggnog recipe.

She also asked for a drink that I couldn’t quite make out the spelling. I think it is a anizetea or perhaps an anise tea. It contains red food coloring and bourbon or moonshine. I have never heard of this, but I know some of you have.

Readers, if you have these recipes please e-mail or write me. My e-mail is

Still looking

Readers still want Instant Pot and butternut squash recipes. Please share your favorites.

Passover and Easter recipes, please

What are you serving for Passover or Easter? Share your ides and recipes with fellow readers. Is it the traditional roast lamb or brisket for Passover or the ham or lamb for Easter? Fresh veggies should be coming in, so what are the side dishes?

Andrea Yeager can be reached at and Cooks Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.

Beets in Orange Sauce

8 whole fresh beets

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Dash pepper

1 cup orange juice

1 medium navel orange, sliced and halved, optional

1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel

Place beets in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until tender.

Drain and cool slightly. Peel and slice; place in a serving bowl and keep warm.

Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Seared Salmon Salad with Beets and Blackberries

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided

2 (6-ounce) golden beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1 (5-ounce) package mixed baby greens

1 cup fresh blackberries, halved

1/4 cup torn fresh mint

Heat 1 1 /2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Sprinkle fillets with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add fillets, skin side down to pan, cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan.

Place beets and 1/4 cup water in microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave a high 6 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Whisk together remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, vinegar, rind and juice in a small bowl. Combine beets greens, blackberries and mint in a large bowl. Add vinegar mixture; toss. Place 2 cups salad on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 fillet.

Cooking Light

Roasted Baby Beets

2 pounds baby beets

4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

1 cup vegetable broth

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

3 fresh thyme sprigs

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

Toppings: chopped hazelnuts, coarsely chopped parsley, crumbled ricotta salata cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove tops and ends of beets; wash beets and place in an 11-by-7-inch baking dish. Dot with butter. Stir together broth and next 6 ingredients; pour over beets. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until tender. Remove beets, reserving 1/4 cup pan juices. Cool beets 15 minutes, peel and quarter.

Cook beets in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Pour reserved pan juices over beets; increase heat to medium-high. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Serve with desired toppings.

Southern Living, October 2011

Roasted Beets with Beet Green Salsa Verde

2 1/4 pounds small or medium beets, scrubbed

1 pound fresh ricotta cheese

Sea salt


1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

2 cups beet greens, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced crosswise into ribbons

1/2 cup minced beet green stems

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped dill, plus sprigs for garnish

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap the beets in foil and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, until tender when pierced. Unwrap and let cool.

Spread the ricotta on a platter. Cut the beets into chunks and arrange on the cheese. Season lightly with sea salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk the oil with the vinegar. Add the beet greens and stems, the onion and chopped dill and mix well. Season the salsa verde with sea salt and pepper and spoon over beets. Scatter the pomegranate seeds on top, garnish with dill sprigs and serve.

Note: The roasted beets can be refrigerated for 2 days. Return to room temperature before serving.

Food&Wine magazine