Thursday, May 19, 2011
The gold beet is a plant in the Chenopodiaceae family. It is made up of both an edible root and edible leaves. The plant has a pale orange, round root whose skin encases an earthy, sweet golden-orange flesh. Its smooth skinned (up to 4") globes are topped with bright green leafy stems.
Beet greens are actually more nutritious than the beets, containing twice the potassium and are exceptionally high in beta carotene and folic acid. Beets have the highest sugar content of any vegetable.
Steaming and roasting bring out the best flavor that the beet can offer. The skin must be peeled, which is easiest after it has cooked, as it simply slips away from its flesh. Beets pair well with cheese, bacon, apples, fennel, citrus, potatoes, shallots, vinegar, walnuts, smoked and cured fish. Toss roasted beets with apple slices, roasted parsnips and hazelnut vinaigrette, then serve the salad over greens. Very thinly slice raw beets and serve with crumble goat cheese, dressed with olive oil. Toss roasted, diced beets with with cooked lentils and vinaigrette and serve as a side dish. Chop roasted beets and combine with minced garlic, onions, tomatoes and cilantro for an earthy salsa. Beets with keep, refrigerated, for up to a week or longer if their tops are removed.
Beets are descended from a wild seashore plant called the sea beet. Beets prefer a cooler climate although they are tolerant of heat. They can be harvested any time during their growth cycle. Growers say the faster beets grow, the better the flavor.