We Got The Beet by Laura Fudacz

25 09 2008

            I recently began to read Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.  In the first chapter the vivid language describing the beet intrigued me.  “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.  The beet is the most melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer.  You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip  The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime.  The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot.  The beet was Rasputin’s favorite vegetable.  You could see it in his eyes.”

The beet, a vegetable I have never eaten or cooked until I went to culinary school is extremely fascinating.  The beet is the root of the flowering beet plant Beta vulgaris.  Beets are rich in vitamin C, folate, soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, and antioxidants. It is a very sweet vegetable, with more sugar even than carrots or sweet corn.

            Garden beets are usually boiled and served hot or cold in a salad.  One of the most popular dishes made with beets is borscht, a Russian style cold soup. Pickled beets are a traditional food of the American South. Beets are also used as red food dye because of their rich red color that anyone who has worked with a beet can tell you stains your skin.  They have also been used to make wine.

            The Romans used the beet for the relief of fever and constipation.  Beet leaves used to be used to bind wounds.  They are still used to lower blood pressure and help improve and prevent illnesses relating to digestion and the blood. Today the beet has even been used in the treatment of AIDS.  To top it all off, beets are also considered to be an aphrodisiac. They are rich in the mineral boron, which helps produce human sex hormones. “An Old Ukrainian Proverb warns, “A tale that begins with a beet will end with the devil.” This is a risk we have to take.” –Tom Robbins.








One response

7 04 2009

Raw beets are very good too. You just need to shave the piled-off root. It’s like raw carrot salad.
Cooked (soft) beets are excellent with a horseradish and wine sauce. Then, sprinkle some goat cheese on it and you’ve got a rich salad.

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