Beets.

Bless Tom Robbins and his silver tongue…
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. Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets. The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of 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 is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.

The beet was Rasputin’s favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.

In Europe there is grown widely a large beet they call the mangel-wurzel. Perhaps it is mangel-wurzel that we see in Rasputin. Certainly there is mangel-wurzel in the music of Wagner, although it is another composer whose name begins, B-e-e-t——.

Of course, there are white beets, beets that ooze sugar water instead of blood, but it is the red beet with which we are concerned; the variety that blushes and swells like a hemorrhoid, a hemorrhoid for which there is no cure. (Actually, there is one remedy: commission a potter to make you a ceramic asshole—and when you aren’t sitting on it, you can use it as a bowl for borscht.)

An old Ukrainian proverb warns, “A tale that begins with a beet will end with the devil.”

That is a risk we have to take. – Jitterbug Perfume

Now, aside from the beauty of the passage, beets are also very healthy! I always knew it, but I guess it didn’t sink in, until I started doing some research for the detox I plan on doing come January.

So, listen to this lovely set of interesting facts and health benefits.

1) Romans used beets to fights fevers and the Greeks used them to cool the blood.

2) When eaten raw, a cup of beets is high in carbohydrates and low in fat. There’s also phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and potassium. And let’s not forget the fiber, vitamins A and C, folic acid, niacin (vitamin B3) and biotin (vitamin B7). And its great for pregnant women, because it can lower the risk of spina bifida and other neural tube disorders.

3) In the world of juicing, beet juice is known for its blood-building and detoxifying properties. It replenishes the blood with vitamins and minerals. (Makes sense after benefit #2) It is oftentimes mixed with carrots, apples and ginger as a juice for liver health.

4) And on that note, its good for the liver! It contains a chemical compound called betaine, which stimulates the liver and protects liver and bile ducts. This chemical has also been shown to contribute to the prevention of coronary and cerebral artery diseases.

5) This is a great one. There are studies done in Hungary that have shown that beet juice and beet powder may slow down the growth of tumors. Its also a traditional remedy for leukemia. The traditional therapy consists of eating 2lbs of raw beets a day. Its also been shown to be helpful with stomach and colon cancer.

6) The chemical in the beet that makes it red is called betacyanin. This pigment is absorbed into our blood and increases the oxygen-carrying ability of the blood up to 400%! That sounds great for those anemics out there…

7) Drinking beet juice regularly can relieve constipation.

8 ) Beets can help with the elasticity of the veins and arteries. Which means it can help with varicose veins.

9) Beet juice is highly alkaline in nature, so it can be helpful in cases of acidosis.

10) Red beets can be helpful with menstrual problems, toothaches, skin problems and headaches.

I think that’s enough with the health benefits. When cooked, they do lose some of their nutritional value, just so you know. But that doesn’t mean that roasting beets isn’t the most delicious thing ever!

Here’s a great recipe. We had some beets and Sarah put this healthy dish together on a lovely fall afternoon. It was so delicious. I have to share it with my fellow beet lovers.

Roasted beets and Goat Cheese salad – serves 2

2 medium-sized red beets (without the greens)

2 tbsp quality olive oil

1 cup of washed spinach (you can use any green you like), chopped.

2 tbsp quality goat cheese, preferably lightly flavored and soft. Crumbly is the word that comes to mind.

2 tbsp quality balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed or 100% juice

A handful of cilantro for garnish

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 f (or 205 c). Cut beets into fairly large chunks and marinate them in the olive oil, salt and pepper. This is best done in aluminum foil, so you can seal it very well. (You can also put it on the baking tray and roast it without the added steam. It takes about the same amount of time) Seal it up and put it on a baking tray in the oven. It takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hr – depends on the oven. You know they are ready when you can stick a knife in and there’s little resistance.

Next, cut the beets into smaller pieces.  Put them in a bowl and add the spinach and goat cheese. Toss. Then add the balsamic vinegar, orange juice and more olive oil. Taste it. Does it need salt or pepper? Now is the time to add it. Garnish with cilantro. Voila! Delicious…

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