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It’s Beet Season!!!

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Tami's Kitchen:  Recipes and ideas for local food in season

One great thing about beets is that you can eat the whole plant. The green tops can be chopped up and steamed or sautéed just as you might prepare some collards, or Kale- so mix it up while you're in there! Beets come in a number of varieties. We're all familiar with nice red beets, but they can also be found in white and golden yellow! So if you're afraid of the stains, you might go with a more subtle variety. 

Not only are beets tasty and pretty, they have some amazing health benefits! Beets have been proven to be a powerful cancer fighting agent.  Their pigment, called betacyanin, fights hard against cancer, particularly colon cancer!  Also, beet juice has been found to be an inhibitor of cell mutations that are caused by Nitrates, which are a commonly used preservative in processed meats.   Folks who regularly consume beets are found to lower their total cholesterol by 30%, and triglycerides by 40%! They are also very high in Folate- so if you are pregnant or planning to start a family, another good reason to eat you beets and give your child a good healthy start to life.

When shopping for beets, you want the smaller size, and ones that have nice firm roots, and smooth skin.  Avoid bruised or nicked beets, as they can bleed out while cooking and that would be sad.  Your green tops should be perky and have a nice lively green color. When storing your beets, cut the green tops back to about two inches from the stem.  Store your tops and bottoms separate in a plastic bag in your crisper.

You can eat your beets Raw or cooked in a number of ways.  If you do choose to cook your beets, you don't want to cook them for too long, as they can lose some of their cancer fighting elements. If you are cooking your beets, don't peel them before cooking.  Young tender beets can be eaten without peeling.  If you do want to peel them, wait until they have been cooked and cooled.  This will prevent the juices from escaping while cooking. 

And for fair warning, eating lots of beets can turn your urine and stool a little pink, so don't be afraid if you see this- you're ok!

Summer Beet Layer salad
• 2 small beets
• 2 small zucchini
• 1 small yellow squash
• 1 vidalia onion
• 2c cooked Quinoa

• 2 tbs Tahini Sauce
• 1 tsp Tamari
• 1 clove garlic- minced
• 1 tbs lemon juice
• 1 handful basil
• 1/4c water

Shred Beets, Zucchini, Squash, and Onion.  Layer on top of Quinoa in wide bowl.
For Dressing.  Blend all ingredients raw in blender, or food processor.  Add water to desired thickness.
Pour over Veggies and Quinoa.

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