Beets. It seems that most people love ’em or hate ’em — kind of like kale, lol. I have fond memories as young adult going to a restaurant when I would come home to visit my parents. I would always choose to go to a local restaurant that served a delicious salad with beets on top. This was the only time I would eat beets. They were so good on the salad you would think that I would have tried them in different ways when I wasn’t in town to frequent the restaurant. I didn’t even consider putting them on a salad I made myself. Strange.
Sadly, even though I have moved back home, the restaurant closed years ago. When I drive by I still think about that wonderful salad. Isn’t it strange how we remember so vividly things we have eat in the past? Now growing my own beets in my garden. I thought now is the time to try my own pickled beets. I had no idea how easy they were to make.
Beets are so good for you! First of all, look at the color. Deep red and purple veggies are super healthy and should be incorporated into your diet regularly for optimal health. Here are some of the benefits of eating beets:
- Beets increase antioxidants in your diet. Betalains are what give beets their beautiful red color. This gives your body antioxidants which can lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. Beets also have anti-inflammatory properties. With today’s modern world and diet, we tend to keep our body inflamed. Inflammation leads to disease. Eating beets can reduce inflammation in the body, leading to better health in the long run.
- Beets can lower blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to a whole host of diseases like heart disease and stroke. Beets contain nitrates which help dilate blood vessels. The effects are temporary (they last about 6 hours after eating). So it’s best to incorporate eating beets on a regular basis so you can better ward off heart issues.
- Beets can improve digestion. A cup of beets provides your body with 3.4 grams of fiber. Let’s face it, people don’t get enough fiber because they don’t eat enough fruits and veggies. Incorporating beets into you diet can help your bowel movements be more regular which can help prevent digestive issues down the road.
- Beets are a great source of vitamins. Potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C are all found in both beet roots and beet leaves, which are also edible. Folate, a B-vitamin, is also plentiful in beets.
- Beets support brain health. I mentioned earlier that beets contain nitrates. It is the nitrates in beets that help the cognitive functioning of the brain. This happens because of the dilation of the blood vessels leading to the brain, which increases blood flow.
I could continue to list all the healthy thing about beets, but I think you see can how wonderful beets are for your health. And as I said, pickled beets are so easy. Here are a couple links for more health benefits of beets.
Here’s is how I made pickled beets.
Beets — as much as you want. I didn’t measure, but had about 8-10 small beets
1/4 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup vinegar — I used apple cider vinegar, but what vinegar also works
2 bay leaves
Hot pepper flakes (optional)
1 tbsp pickling spice
- Clean your beets by removing the leaves (keep them to make something — their edible). Leave about 1 inch of stem on top of the beet.
- Place in water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 20-30 minutes.
- Drain the beets and cool until you can handle them.
- Wear gloves to keep your hands from being stained.
- Peel and slice the beets about 1/4 inch thick.
- Place in a glass bowl (beets will stain plastic). Add slides of onion and the garlic.
- Make the pickling liquid. Put the sugar, vinegar, bay leaves, hot pepper flakes, and pickling spice in a pan and heat until the sugar dissolves. This only takes a minute or two.
- Pour over the beets/onions/garlic making sure all is covered with the liquid.
- Cover with plastic wrap and add a little weight to press everything down to ensure all the veggies are covered in the liquid.
- Put in the fridge. It will be ready to eat after a day or two and will last up to 2 weeks.
- Eat as a side dish, add to a salad, or be creative! Your body will thank you!