The purpleness of beets is astounding and my favorite feature.
The purpleness of beets is astounding and my favorite feature.

Purpleness of beets

Perhaps strangely, my favorite thing about beets is that they are purple.  Besides that it is my favorite color, the intensity of the color and the flavor I like. The purpleness of beets might be what I like most, perhaps odd considering they are food. But they “taste purple” if that is possible, and purple makes me happy.  So while I like golden beets, I really prefer the richness of the purple ones.

Gorgeous purpleness of beets highlighted by acid green new leaves.
Gorgeous purpleness of beets highlighted by acid green new leaves.

Healthy too

I’ve read beets are really good for you.  Like any fruit or vegetable, they have fiber, antioxidants and vitamins. Beyond these benefits, beets lower blood pressure, improve brain function by increasing blood flow, fight fat accumulation in the liver, and improve endurance.  Great for triathletes.  I don’t need another reason to eat one of my favorite vegetables.  I’ll still happily take better health and more endurance as an excuse to add more purple into my life.

The purpleness of beets in simulated motion.
The purpleness of beets in simulated motion.

How to cook beets

The purpleness of beets is best appreciated by preparing them yourself instead of opening a can.  Although, I have found a few sellers of some very nice pickled beets available (Pernicious Pickling is one.)  However, throwing them into a hot oven for an hour after wrapping clean beets in foil is really easy.  Once baked until soft, I toss them into the fridge, pulling them out, to peel and sliced as needed.  I combine with other tasty things depending on what I have.  Tomatoes are another favorite, especially since they don’t mind a bit of purple dye.  Green things, especially if they don’t pick up the purple are good too: celery, green onions.  Also bits of meat for a whole meal.

A bit more work is to cut each root into smallish slices, roll in melted butter with salt and pepper and spread on a sheet.  Put into a 350 degree oven (ish is in effect — hotter won’t hurt but just need to watch more closely).  They’ll go about 30-40 minutes before slightly browned around the edges and softened through.  Turn them at least once for the reward of slightly caramelized sweetness tempered by the salt and pepper.  I based this on a Cooks Illustrated recipe for squash which apparently works with other vegetables too.

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