WHAT IS A BEET?
These dark red, circular roots have a thick, brown skin on the outside that provides excellent dirt camouflage. Cut this tuber in half and you have growth rings like in the trunk of a tree. These concentric layers of vascular tissue are indicative of the beet’s quality. More rings means the root had more access to water and soil nutrients allowing it to grow larger. The vegetable (edible) portions of this plant are both the tuber and the leaves, not the stem.
WHY ARE BEETS GOOD FOR YOU?
They are a great source of many important nutrients. Beets are rich in nitrates which dilate blood vessels which helps to lower blood pressure and increase cerebral blood flow. The tube’s betaine content helps to fight heart disease and aid in liver health. Also beets are rich in fiber and hydration being 88% water. However these vegetables also have one of the highest sugar contents of any vegetable. And they contain a pigment called betacyanin which some people can’t process (it turns your urine pink).
WHEN ARE BEETS IN SEASON?
They are a cool weather plant that is harvested from the Summer and to late Fall.
HOW SHOULD BEETS BE STORED?
Pluck the leaves from the roots and store separately for up to two days. The roots should be bagged and refrigerated for up to 10 days.
WHAT IS THE PROPER WAY TO PEEL A BEET?
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NAPOLEON SEIZED 70,000 ACRES IN HIS WAR ON BEETS?
When a military dictator wants to “encourage” something, he gets the job done. In the early 1800s only the wealthy could afford sugar. However several years earlier a German chemist had discovered that beets were rich in sugar. But no one knew how to extract this sucrose. And in 1807 when France and Britain were fighting, the English blocked French ships from returning home with Caribbean sugar. It virtually disappeared from Europe until 1811 when French scientists discovered how to havest sugar from beets. Within 4 years Napoleon had set aside 70,000 acres for beet sugar production and helped construct the first factories. Within a few decades sugar was an affordable household ingredient throughout Europe.