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WTF do I do with BEETS??!!

You may have been gifted some beets from the resident gardener in your neighborhood, and now you are asking yourself what the F*** do I do with BEETS? ah, the disgusted childhood eye looks back upon these odd wonders of the soil. Kind of a dirty brown color, with reddish purple tops. As children we could smell beets a mile away, and prayed to God above that Timmy’s mom would let you stay for supper and evade the blood red vegetable.

Whether you have outgrown that loathe of this root vegetable, or are curious about it I can fill you in, and give you some ideas on how to actually USE the beet rather than throw it in the trash.

First of all, let’s learn about the beet. Now, by no means am I going to say that this is the new incredible edible thing, but give me a second and we can think about it. Beets are a hardy root vegetable, which is why every neighborhood garden probably has them. Often described as an “earthy” and yet sweet flavor these beets are full of nutrition. They range in color from deep red to a bright purple. The red color of beets comes from betalains which have powerful antioxidant effects. Beets are said to be helpful in reducing inflammation because they are full of nitrates. The combo of nitrates (they remove harmful compounds from your bloodstream) and betalains are said to fight inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, or the ever growing fibromyalgia.

Said to improve heart health by reducing blood pressure those nitrates in beets are a super food. Naturally low in fat and cholesterol leads them to the front of the pack for people concerned with stroke risk and or heart disease. A nutrient-dense root vegetable that is low in calories, cholesterol and fat, beets are a heart-healthy choice.

Granted that still doesn’t send everyone running to the produce section, and believe me I would have been the last in line from childhood to recent times. Honestly, I can’t tell you exactly when it happened, but it was probably when I was pregnant with my son. I was eating all kinds of whacky food combinations. At any rate, one day…. probably in 2011… I. Ate. A. Beet. Thus beginning a slow love affair over the years that some times leads me to think, “You know, a beet sounds good right now.”

Canned beets

I enjoy taking canned beets (either commercial or home canned) draining them, and topping them with my favorite Italian dressing and a decent serving of feta cheese.

Putting them in a salad isn’t too shabby either.

Straight up out of the can to the side of my plate I still can’t manage. It’d take a lost bet at this point to conquer that feat.

The Neighborhood Beet

Straight from the garden to your unwilling home I have a few ideas for you.

Beet Chips. After you peel away the dirty skin of the beet simply slice them finely, and place in your fabulous dehumidifier at 160 degrees for two hours. Nice crispy snacks await! If you don’t have a dehydrator you can also bake the chips in the oven at 300 degrees for 45-60 minutes. I like the beet chips as a healthy nighttime snack.

Photos that follow are the process of chip making…. with short instructions, after all it is pretty simple.

The “earthy” beet in its natural state
Peeled beets…
Tops and skins from beets
I cheated and used a stand mixer attachment to slice the beets. I’ve never been able to evenly slice anything.
Put on the dehydrator tray
Put in the dehydrator, and life is simple! LOL

Pinterest to save the day also offers a lot of beet salad ideas, and roasting recipes.

Honestly, I guess you could also can them, but if you don’t know if you like them why would you go to the trouble of canning them.

Dyeing with beets

If you find you want nothing to do with beets at all a cool project is dyeing fabric with beets. It’s an all natural way to dye fabrics and yarns for other projects. Reader be ware… it takes a little bit of time to dye with beets. At least it did on the diy site I found. I was going to attempt it this weekend past, but hours were involved and that was something I couldn’t schedule in that day. So I saved the tops and peelings of all the beets I turned into chips. I plan on dyeing some tea towels here in a few weeks, and I’ll let you know what a disaster that turns out to be.

In short when it comes to beets you either love them or you hate them. Either eat them, or put them to use as a fabric dye. Whatever you choose to do with your gifted beets… remember… to live a simple life.

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