Does anyone eat beets?
Well, we all should.
And not just the bright purple round part that grows underground.
Beet Funfact: Beets contain the highest sugar content of all vegetables. Ever heard of sugar beets? For this reason they should be eaten in moderation.
The leafy tops are probably the best part of the plant. More on that in a minute….
The entire carcass is consumable and I think the beet is one of the healthiest, little plants on earth.
Why would I say that?
LETS HEAR IT FOR THE BEETS!
- Detoxification: The entire earth is toxifying us and whether we realize it or not, we need to detox. Regularly. Even if you live in a hole without couches, flooring, electricity and grow all your food you can thank Adam and Eve that with every breath you take and bite you eat you are slowly dying. One way to promote health and longevity is to regularly detox. Simply put, it is a good idea to eat foods that naturally detox our systems. This helps to rid our bodies of all the toxins we constantly absorb from our environment. Specifically, beets help purify your blood and your liver.
- Healthy: Beets are a great source of nutrition. They are packed with vitamin C (Yay, immune support), potassium, fiber, manganese and vitamin B (folate).
- Anti-cancer: that beautiful red color is more than just appealing to the eye.
- “Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, for instance, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers” – Mercola
- Inflammation: Beets provide betaine. Betaine is a nutrient that fights inflammation & protects organs.
- Blood Pressure: Beets contain Nitric oxide, which dilates and relaxes your blood vessels. This allows blood to flow more freely. Improved blood flow means lower blood pressure.
- “Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points” Mercola
WHAT ABOUT THOSE GREENS?
Don’t throw away your beet greens. They are perhaps the best part.
I cram my beet greens through my juicer…. I also do this with my radish greens. I dedicate a tremendous amount of effort toward growing my food. When you grow your own food, you don’t like to see any of it go to the disposal, the garbage can, the chickens or the pigs. Nope. If I spend the time, work and sweat growing it, someone around here is going to consume it.
Even the tops.
Beet greens (tops) contain:
- vitamin B6
- and protein!!
Those beet tops contain more iron than spinach. They boost bone strength, fight Alzheimer and strengthen your immune system.
Beets are super good for you and around here, they are pretty hard to find. There aren’t many groceries (around here, anyway) that regularly stock beets. If yours does – you are lucky. If I want to eat beets I usually need to grow them myself. This is my preferred method of obtaining food, so it works.
Beets are so easy to grow. They come up fast. They get big fast. They don’t have many pests or diseases that plague them in the Kentucky area.
How to Grow Beets:
ONE: Start with good soil
Beets need workable, loamy soil. Since the root is growing underground, clay will never do.
TWO: Plant in cool weather
Beets are a cool season crop. They will grow best when planted in spring or fall when temperatures are cooler. I plant a crop in March or April (harvest early summer) and another crop in July or August (for a fall harvest).
If you live somewhere that is still enjoying cool nights you could put some beet seeds in your garden.
If your region is muggy, hot & dry already – wait til August & sow some seeds for a fall harvest.
THREE: Space 2 inches apart
I sow my beet seeds directly in the ground in the garden. I attempt to keep the seeds 2 inches apart.
FOUR: Thin if needed
Once your beets begin to emerge from the earth you will see how you did on the spacing. As they grow and mature pull up any crowded plants and eat them. This is a win-win.
- You get to eat baby beets (the young ones are tender and sweet).
- You get to enjoy your beets sooner.
- The remaining beets left in the garden will have more room to stretch their
wingsroots and become giant beets for your future enjoyment.
FIVE: Pests & Problems
I have never had any issues growing beets. I have heard that some bugs like to attack beet leaves. If this is your scenario a sprinkling of DE (Diatomaceous Earth) should keep the critters at bay.
Diatomaceous earth (buy it here) is a ultra-fine white powder made from the fossilized remains of algae-like plants called diatoms.
More on DE & how to use it here.
SIX: Harvest in 7-8 weeks
Beets grow fast. I am amazed at the pace that some plants can mature. Radishes, squash, cucumbers and beets all fall in this category. Well, ducks do too, but they aren’t plants.
There will only be 8 weeks from the sowing of your seeds to the pulling of your giant beets. That’s fast. For a continual harvest, stagger the beet plantings over several weeks. This can also be done with other crops (lettuce, radishes, cabbage, etc).
SEVEN: Eat the entire Plant
There is more than one way to eat a beet. I like them raw. I like them on salad. I like them juiced. I like them pickled (how to pickle beets here). Beets are a great snack and super healthy for your body.
Don’t forget to eat the beet greens. These can also be enjoyed in several ways. You can toss them as a salad. Beet greens are great with a vinaigrette and feta cheese. You can saute them in some garlic & olive oil for a healthy green side. You can cram them through your juicer with a cucumber and a green apple for a refreshing (earthy) boost.