CSA SPOTLIGHT: BEETS [WEEK 5]

I'm trying something new this week – putting the spotlight on a CSA fruit or veggie. I'm still going to list the other veggies we're getting in our half share and my plan for what to make, but for the spotlight food I'll go in a bit deeper with info + give more recipe options. These are our half share options this week, and what I'm doing with them:  

  • 1.5 lbs. of Yellow Summer Squash – I'm not quite sure how many squashes 1.5lbs is, so my initial plan is to put it in burritos, but if I have leftovers, I'll grill it for T$'s lunch salad next week
  • 1 crown of Broccoli or 1 bunch of Beets – still hooked on beets, and it's this week's spotlight, so see below for lots of ideas!
  • 1 head of Lettuce or 1 head of Caraflex Cabbage – grill it as a side OR maybe I'll get bold and try making a slaw (I usually don't like slaw)
  • 1 bunch of Kale or Arugula – if they have dino kale, I'll get that for a massaged kale lunch salad, otherwise I'll default to the arugula
  • 1 bunch of Spring Onions or 1 bunch of Radishes – I'm going to slice them very thinly and keep them raw for a salad with falafel, cucumbers, hummus and feta

This week's spotlight veggie is BEETS! I'm sure you've noticed that I've gotten them almost every week at the farm because I love them. Some people don't love the "earthy" flavor of the traditional, red ones, so I'd challenge those of you to try the golden ones since they're milder, before you completely swear off beets forever!

I eat beets because I love their flavor, but the bonus is that they have lots of good stuff to help fuel our bodies. I love when that happens.... okay, in reality all real, whole foods have good stuff.

BEETS
SOME DEETS ABOUT BEETS:
  • Beets contain phytonutrients (betalains) that are be helpful for body functions like liver detoxification, boosting stamina and lowering inflammation. They're also high in fiber, immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, potassium and manganese, and B vitamin folate.
  • Unlike some other food pigments, the amount of betalains lost from food is increased as the length of cooking time is increased, so keep beet steaming time to 15 minutes or less, and roasting time to under an hour.
  • Golden beets contain more lutein than red ones! Lutein often contributes to the yellow color of veggies, so they usually contain more lutein than red versions of foods. Lutein may help protect our retinas from the damaging effects of blue light on your eyes.
  • Most people only focus on the root (they're actually often called beetroot), but the greens can be eaten too! (Usually sautéed) As well as other micronutrients, beet greens supply significant amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, lutein and iron.
  • When you eat lots of red beets, you might experience something that can be unnecessarily scary... pink pee! If you've been eating lots of red beets, no need to worry about blood in your urine. There's a bit of a debate as to the cause though: some say that it could be a sign that you have low stomach acid and aren't breaking it down as well; others claim it may relate to iron absorption; and others say there's absolutely no cause for any alarm. Either way, you can keep on eating 'em!

Meal inspiration: bean + beet burgers, roasted beets with goat cheese in salad or on a sandwich (like a fancy grilled cheese... yum!), roasted beets and butternut squash + sautéed beet greens, beet hummus, red velvet cake (instead of using red food dye), pickled, juiced, sliced thinly & baked into chips, balsamic beets + beet greens.... so many possibilities!

Are you trying any beet recipes this week? What's your preference, red or gold?