Beets are incredible root vegetables that are packed with nutrients and are wholly edible from the leaves to the root. The greens and stems are edible beet parts that you can add to your soups, side dishes, or in salads.
You will always find beets in my fridge. I love these red roots for their nutritional benefits and the beautiful colour they add to my meals. I have always known that the only edible part of beets is the beet root and the rest I just cut and throw away. Not until recently a friend of mine told me that I can eat the stems together with the leaves. I didn’t know exactly how to go about that so I did my own research to find out more.
Edible beet parts
What part of the beet can you eat?
This is the bulb part of the beet plant. Like most people, you’re familiar with the red beet but there are other beet varieties that have different flavours and nutrients like the yellow, pink, and white beets. Beets have been used for many generations as traditional medicine to treat constipation, fevers, skin disorders, as a dye, and in teas. The beetroot is rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are beneficial to different functions of your body and your overall health.
How to prepare, store, and eat the beetroot
Eating raw beets can add some crunch to your meal and also give it a beautiful colour. Before eating the root you should gently wash it and to prevent bleeding of its red colour, leave 2-inches of the stem intact before cutting off the greens. For small beets, you can roast or boil them whole but for big ones, you can cut them in quarters to reduce your cooking time.
Instead of cooking the beetroot, you can store in the fridge for up to three weeks. Once the beets are clean, cut off the stems and greens to avoid them removing moisture from the root but leave 2-inches of the stem. Place them in an air-tight plastic bag and put them in the fridge.
The root is one of the most common edible beet parts that most people love to include in their different meals. You can eat them raw or cooked. Grated raw beetroot makes a beautiful addition to your salad or in soups as a garnish. Roasting the beets brings out its sugars or juice it whole and add different fruits and veggies like berries and ginger or add to your smoothies. You can also bake it as veggie chips, add to desserts or pickled.
Can you eat beet leaves?
Most people throw away the beet leaves but they’re delicious raw or cooked. Beet greens are highly nutritious with minerals such as iron, vitamins A and C, calcium, and low in sugars than the beetroot. They supply your body with protein, zinc, phosphorous, and fiber. The vitamin K in beet greens has blood clotting properties that help prevent osteoporosis, fight Alzheimer’s disease, and help calcium increase your bone density.
How to prepare, store, and eat beet greens
Beet leaves are edible beet parts that most people often discard. If the beet greens are attached with the roots, go for smaller beet roots. Avoid beet roots that are soft, bruised, or cracked. Also avoid beet roots that are elongated and have a round scaly top surface because they are fibrous, tough, and have a strong flavour. The beet greens should appear fresh, tender, and have a nice green colour.
To store, cut the stems and greens from the roots and store the unwashed greens in an air-tight plastic bag then place them in the fridge where they will remain fresh for about four days.
Young and fresh greens can be used raw and added to salads, smoothies, sauteed as a side dish or juiced to make a healthy green drink that you can mix with other fruits and veggies. The mature greens can be cooked to prepare soups, pasta, sandwiches, omelet, etc.
What to do with beet stems
Beet stems are mostly crimson, pink or yellow in colour and you find them between the beet root and the leaves. They’re very rich in fiber, minerals, betalain a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent your risk of heart disease and reduce inflammation. If they’re small and not fibrous you can eat them together with the leaves.
How to prepare, store, and eat beet stems
If the beet stems are thick and fibrous, separate them from the leaves and roots. You don’t have to cut them from the leaves when storing them, leave them intact till you’re ready to prepare them. Store them in an air-tight plastic bag and place them in the fridge.
Some people prefer to add the raw beet stems to their smoothies, steam them in their soups, saute with garlic, olive oil, and some lemon juice, or pickle the beet stems.
Are you now ready to get all the nutritional benefits of the whole beetroot?
Beetroot is a completely edible root vegetable starting from the leaves to its roots. You can watch this to learn how to make beets that are raw, cooked, roasted, juiced, or pickled. Whichever way you fancy, you’re guaranteed to reap most of its health benefits as you enjoy your beet.
Are beets good for you to eat?
Beets are low in calories and are packed with nutrients that include dietary fiber, folate, iron, and vitamin C. beets also contain nitrates that help to lower your blood pressure and boost your energy levels.
How can you tell if beets are bad?
If the beets are soft like a tomato most likely they’re spoiled. However, if it’s still firm but a bit soft it’s still good to eat.
Is it better to eat beets raw or cooked?
Beets can be eaten raw and added to your salads, cooked or roasted. You can also juice them or add to your smoothies.
Is it okay to eat the skin of beets?
Beets outer skin is tender and you don’t need to peel before you eat it. If the beets are small you just clean and cook them whole. They provide you with fiber.
Are canned beets as healthy as fresh beets?
Most people think that canned or frozen fruits and veggies contain fewer nutrients than fresh ones. The truth is canned beets contain the same nutrients as fresh beets the only difference is the sodium content in canned beets.