I pulled my first beet out of the ground a few days ago. It came out a bright fuchsia globe, damp and spotted with dirt, with a full head of beautiful green leaves. It even kinda tasted like dirt, but in a nice, tranquil, after-the-rain sort of way: earthy, fresh, and dewy-sweet. Delicious raw, but even sweeter steamed or roasted.
This is an heirloom Chioggia beet, grown from seed by Botanical Interests.
Beets belong to the chenopod family of vegetables, which also include chard and spinach. That means the beet greens are just as healthy and scrumptious for you as the beet root!
In fact, the greens are packed with even more nutrients than the root itself, containing higher levels of iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C to do your body good. The greens also contain special antioxidants (carotenoids, if you will) called lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect against cataracts and macular degeneration, respectively. Good for your eyes, and good for your body.
There are few salads more perfect than sweet roasted beet with morsels of Valencia orange plucked fresh off the tree, red onion slivers, orange bell pepper, crunchy walnuts, and creamy goat cheese, finely drizzled with balsamic vinegar and finished with cracked black pepper. Mmmm…