Remember all those legendary Russian centenarians? Beets, frequently consumed either pickled or in borscht, the traditional Russian soup, may be one reason behind their long and healthy lives. These colorful root vegetables contain powerful nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer.
If long cooking times deter you from cooking beets, our Healthiest Way of Cooking beets will help you prepare them in just 15 minutes. Cut medium beets into quarters without removing the skin. Steam and serve as a great vegetable side dish or as a wonderful addition to your favorite salad.
Beets and Beet Greens
Many people do not realize that the leaves and stems of the beets are also good to eat. So often people just twist them off and compost them. Like the carrots, you want to separate the beet root from its leaves/stems before too long, or they will begin to draw from the root and make it rubbery. I like to chop the leaves off an inch above the root and wash them (separating out and discarding any withered or yellowing leaves), then spin of excess water in a salad spinner and store them layered in paper towel in a plastic bag. That way they’re ready for use. A trick I’ve learned is, rather than chop the greens before cooking them, if you put the leaves/stems whole into a pot of boiling salted water (like you would pasta), then cook them until al dente, you can then drain them and now have a manageable lump of greens which you can then chop as coarsely or finely as you like. Last week I did this, then cooked the beets separately in a pressure cooker, then sliced up the beets (or you could dice them) and served them mixed in with the cooked, chopped greens and a little butter and balsamic vinegar.