Monday, October 28, 2013

Meatless Monday: Savoring the Sugar Sink

All summer long root vegetables stockpiled carbohydrates, turning their tubers and taproots into sugar sinks. If left in the ground, these roots become sugar sources in spring, providing energy for the growing shoot tips of the plant’s second year.

The autumn days are shorter. Soon the ground will freeze. The roots are at their maximum size and sweetness. For most of these underground treasuries, it's harvest time. 

In farmer’s markets and in the produce aisle bins overflow with potatoes and carrots, parsnips and turnips, celeriac and rutabagas, and beets of many colors.

While it is true that all root vegetables have significant numbers of carbohydrates, some have more than others. They are all low in sodium, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins and minerals. Dr. Andrew Weil writes about the many health benefits of root vegetables and how to prepare them here.

I cooked many root vegetables over the weekend, including my favorite — golden beets. About beets Dr. Weil has this to say: “Beets derive their hue from pigments called betalains, which range in color from red-violet to yellow. Betalains, in addition to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, trigger a family of enzymes that binds toxic substances in cells, neutralizing and allowing them to be excreted from the body.” Pretty cool, don't you think?

Golden beets are more delicate (less earthy) than the more familiar red beets. Here is how I prepared mine:
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Remove all but the top two or three inches of the beet greens.
  • Scrub the beets well.
  • Dry them with a paper towel.
  • Toss them in a bowl with some good quality olive oil and a bit of salt.
  • Put them in a cast iron skillet or a roasting pan and bake until fork tender.
  • Let them cool.
  • Remove the skin.
  • Cut the beets into 1/4” cubes.
They may not look like much here.
While the beets are cooling, prepare a marinade: 
  • Whisk together: 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil,1 teaspoon of orange juice, 3 teaspoons of good white wine vinegar, salt, freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano.
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  • Add the marinade to the beets.
  • Refrigerate in a covered dish overnight.
  • Serve cold or slightly warmed as a side or a salad topping.
But what do you think now?
Come back next week to see how I enjoyed mine.

Happy Monday! 

Have a great week. Eat well. 

I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

1 comment:

  1. yum! looks like a home-made (and probably yummier) version of one of my favorite salad bar items!