As a foodie, I’m always scouting for the latest in cooking and eating trends. While living on an island in Maine may not give me easy access to the hottest new restaurants or cutting-edge ingredients, one can still dream. So when Bon Appetit magazine listed beet juice as one of the top 25 food trends of the New Year, I was ecstatic.
Although beets are of Mediterranean origin, they grow extremely well in our cold, Maine climate. Beets were originally grown for their leaves and for cattle feed. As a seasonal vegetable, beets keep for several weeks in the refrigerator, or store extremely well in the root cellar.
In the body, beets play an important role in detoxifying homocysteine, the amino acid implicated in heart disease. Recent research indicates that they also have anti-inflammatory characteristics. Plus they are packed with vitamins, nutrients, and fiber.
Thinly sliced raw beets make a bright and colorful salad when tossed with dressing made with lemon juice and champagne vinegar. Add grated beets to a root cellar slaw, or use as part of a stew. When cooking beets, save the juice for later use. Beet juice combined with blueberries, yogurt and maple syrup make a nutritious and delicious smoothie. Or for a special treat, try making Beet Sorbet.
1 pound beets, trimmed and scrubbed
1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup orange juice
½ – ¾ cup sugar
Sea salt to taste
Boil the beets in a large saucepan with four cups of water until they are pieced easily with a fork, about 30 – 40 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine mesh strainer and reserve. Store the beets in the refrigerator for another use.
Add enough water to the liquid so you have 3 ½ cups. Stir in the vinegar, sugar, lemon juice and orange juice. Taste and correct the seasonings. The taste should be a refreshing sweet and sour. Cool the liquid. Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Makes four cups. Serving size is ½ cup.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 57 calories, less than 1 gram protein, 14 grams carbohydrates, less than 1 gram fat, 6 mg. sodium, less than 1 gram fiber.