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The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent, not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious. – Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

Nutrition: As their color suggests, beets are a blood tonic and so are good for anemia, the heart and circulation. They purify the blood, alleviate constipation, aid the liver and promote menstruation. Beets are very high in anti-oxidants and a good source of vitamins A, B complex and C. The roots are high in natural sugar. The greens should also be used as they provide iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. 


Storage Information: Trim beet tops to one-half inch to reduce wilting. Brush dirt off, but do not wash. Allow to dry. Store in refrigerator in plastic bags with damp paper towel up to two weeks. Beet roots can be stored two to four months in cold, humid cellar or pit, or in the refrigerator (sealed in plastic). Maintain around 40 F and 95 percent relative humidity for best results.

Food Fun Facts: A traditional Pennyslvania German (US) dish is Red Beet Eggs. Hard-boiled eggs are refrigerated in the cooking liquid of pickled beets and allowed to marinate until the eggs turn a deep pink-red color. Betanins, an antioxidant obtained from the roots, are used industrially as red food colourants, e.g. to intensify the colour of tomato paste, sauces, desserts, jams and jellies, ice cream, sweets and breakfast cereals. Beet pulp is fed to horses that are in vigorous training or conditioning and to those that may be allergic to dust from hay.

Basic Recipes: Like chard, beet greens are high in oxalic acid and so should not be eaten excessively. However, when they are fresh and young they make an excellent salad green. The greens may also be sauted, steamed, added to soups or juiced with carrot, apple and/or other greens. Beets are often pickled, baked, boiled or shredded raw for use in salads. A popular Russian soup borscht, uses beets as the principal ingredient.


Simple from Scratch:
Greens: Cut into small pieces. Sauté in garlic, oil, and add salt to taste.
Root: Steam whole to maintain nutrients, ½ hr or more depending on size, or cut into bite size pieces for quicker results. Steam until tender. Add salt to taste. *Optional- add crumbled goat cheese

Other Recipe Ideas:

Vegetarian Borscht:


8 cups stock

1 large onion, peeled, quartered

4 large beets, peeled, chopped

4 carrots, peeled, chopped

1 large russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 cups thinly sliced cabbage

3/4 cup chopped fresh dill

3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 cup sour cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring 8 cups of stock, onion, beets, carrots, and potato to boil in a large pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in cabbage and 1/2 cup dill; cook until cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in vinegar. beets, carrots, and potato Top soup bowls with sour cream and remaining 1/4 cup dill. Serves 6.

The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood


Chocolate Beet Cake

From "Straight from the Farm"

1 c. margarine, softened, divided
1 1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar
3 eggs at room temp
1 1/2 oz. dark chocolate
5 medium beets/2 c. pureed beets
1 t. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

To make beet puree, trim stems and roots off beets and quarter them. Place in heavy sauce pan filled with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 50 mins or until the beets are tender. Drain off remaining liquid and rinse beets in cold water as they’ll be too hot to handle otherwise. Slide skins off and place beets in blender. Pulse until a smooth puree forms. Let cool slightly before using in cake. Puree can be made several days in advance.

In a mixing bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and brown sugar. Add eggs; mix well. Melt chocolate with remaining butter; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Blend chocolate mixture, beets and vanilla into the creamed mixture (mixture will appear separated). Combine flour, baking soda , salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. spring form pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool completely before dusting with confectioners’ sugar.

Roasted Beets with Curry Dressing:
Preheat oven to 375. Wash, trim and wrap 6 medium beets individually in foil. Place in a shallow pan and roast until tender, or place in covered baking dish with a spoonful of water. A sharp kitchen paring knife should pierce through the foil easily. Set aside to cool. Mix dressing by combining: 2 cloves garlic crushed, 2 Tbsp yogurt, 2 Tbsp Mayo, 4 tsp curry powder, 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 4 Tbsp chopped celery or cilantro. When all ingredients are smooth, whisk in 10 Tbsp olive oil and set aside. Unwrap the beets. Slice into wedges and set into your dish. Spoon curry over the beets and serve at room temperature. yield: 6. (adapted from Delicious TV)


 Durga’s Beet Kvass Recipe:


Beet Kvass is a effervescent lactic acid fermented beverage which you can easily make at home from beets, water and sea salt. It can be consumed as a tonic drink, or used to make a vinaigrette dressing. Beet kvass, like other lactic acid fermented drinks, is best consumed in relatively small amounts. It is considered a tonic drink, due to the many health benefits from nutrients, enzymes and beneficial organisms in it. Kvass is also made from stale rye bread. No traditional Ukranian home was without its bottle of beet kvass, according to Lubow A. Kylvska, author of Ukranian Dishes.


Folk medicine values beets and beet kvass for their liver cleansing properties and beet kvass is widely used in cancer therapy in Europe. Anecdotal reports indicate that beet kvass is an excellent therapy for chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivities, allergies and digestive problems. (from Weston A Price Foundation website.)


Note to Sally Fallon fans: the following recipe is adapted from Fallon. Many people start out all excited to make beet kvass and find the results unpalatable and give up. The secret is to use just a pinch of salt (prefer Celtic coarse) and ½ a cup of whey (or more, if you have lots to use up!)

Basic Beet Kvass

Batch 1:

2-4 medium to large beets, scrubbed, unpeeled, coarsely chopped

½ cup whey leftover from making homemade cheese from raw milk (powdered will *not* do)

pinch sea salt (Celtic salt is preferred as it adds minerals)

about 1-1/2 qts filtered water (not fizzy mineral water)

Combine all ingredients in 2 qt. glass jar. Fill rest of jar w/ water, leaving about 1-1/2 inches headroom.

Invert jar to gently mix ingredients. Place on a counter. Kvass will be ready in 2-4 days, depending on outside temp. Try to mix by turning jar a couple times/day. You can tell it’s ready by the rich red color, by floating beet pieces (means good amount of lactic acid has developed), and by the presence of “bloom” (mold) on top.


Subsequent Batches:

When kvass is finished, gently scoop off as much bloom as you can. Strain liquid into bowl, and transfer to another 2 qt. glass jar. Refrigerate. You may drink at full strength, but as it is concentrated, you may wish to dilute half with mineral water, and add 1-2 tsp honey. It is delightful taken this way, a very pleasant “beet soda.” Children like it, and it looks beautiful.

Then, wash the quartered beets well. They will be slimy. Also wash out the jar they fermented in well with hot water. Chop the beets one size smaller, and place back in fermenting jar, again with half cup way and pinch salt. Repeat whole process. I have gotten up to 4 lovely batches of kvass this way-so three beets last about 2 weeks!



Are endless. Kvass is very nice with a teaspoon of cinnamon (a good blood toning combo); also ginger root and lemon (careful! The ginger gets very heady—open slowly or you may have a bubbling mess!); also my favorite is cranberry concentrate—making a great female tonic. For a real treat you may also make it with half water and half freshly juiced apples or pears. It is also nice with dried mint (just crush mint leaves and add to the jar with the beets.)

I would advise against adding honey to the fermenting batch, or using fizzy mineral water, as both slow fermentation; but added after, both (especially the honey) bring health benefits.