I place beets, like turnips and leeks, under my personal heading of ‘unsung hero’. Sure pickled beets have made their mark, but what about that pile of earthy, red, misshapen globes that you see at farmer’s markets and grocery stores? We walk by them and snub them like they only belong in borscht or as an adjective for the color of ones face. But did you know that the beet has a long history of cultivation stretching back to the second millennium BC? Beets contain sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and phosphorus! They are also considered a fiber food that contain vitamins A and C as well as niacin! Studies have shown that beets guard against cancer, especially colon cancer. Betacyanin is the pigment that gives beets their red color, this pigment is what is responsible for helping to fight cancer. Finally, if love is on your heart beets are the vegetable of love. Since Roman times, beetroot juice has been considered an aphrodisiac. It has a high boron content, a mineral thought to influence the production of sexual hormones as well as improve the immune system. Their leaves are also shaped like hearts. This vegetable is all about love.
Now that I have given you a brief history of the beet, I am going to share a recipe with you that will BLOW your mind. This is so simple and SO tasty that you will never look at the beet the same way. No, it may not find itself waltzing among the cucumbers and tomatoes in your refrigerator but surely it may place itself next to the yam or that acorn squash you have been meaning to bake.
Baked beets with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- 4-6 beets
- sea salt
- olive oil
- a good balsamic vinegar
Wash and dry beets leaving skin on. I also trim the top and bottom. Place the beets on aluminum foil and add a good couple tablespoons or more of sea salt (I use Himalayan for this!). Wrap them up in the aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet (in case the beets drip during baking). Bake the beets in the over at 400 f for about 2 hours-until you can easily slip a knife into them. When done, cut them however you want. I just slice mine in rounds about 1/2 inch thick. Put the beets in a bowl and drizzle all over with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Eat warm or cold. Get ready for the ultimate taste treat sensation!!