Wednesday, June 15, 2011

FUEL Better: Farmers Market Style

In today’s wild world of global trading we have access to most fruits and vegetables year round, however fruits and vegetables just taste better when you purchase them in season and literally days after it has been picked.  Summertime is a fabulous nutrition holiday! Yes, holiday! For a few short months local farmers markets are busting at the seams with endless nutrient rich fresh produce.

FUEL Better: Farmers Market Style

We got the Beat! Yeah. We got the Beet!

Beet mania begins in June and last through October. Beets are charming for their color and flavor as well as for their nutrition.  In the beginning prehistoric settlers exclusively ate the beet greens and discarded the awkward root. Romans were the first to farm beets to use their roots as food. It was not until the 19th century beets valuable source of concentrated sugar was discovered.

Besides being pretty and sweet beets have a variety of hidden health benefits. The pigment that gives beets their rich purple-crimson color is also a powerful cancer and heart disease fighting agent.

Betaine, a compound found naturally in beets and spinach, has been shown to reduce inflammation by 20% according to researchers in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Beets are high in folic acid, potassium, calcium and other antioxidants.

Beet juice is rich in natural sugar, sodium, sulphur, chlorine, iodine, copper and vitamin B1, B2, C and bioflavonoids.  Beets are a fibrous root and excellent for aiding in and eliminating constipation.

Buy beets that are firm with smooth skins and tops attahced. Select beetw with a deep, rich purple-red color. Small to medium beets are sweeter and more tender. Beet tops look fresh and dark green, not wilted or slimy.  

To store, trim off the leaves, leaving an inch or two of stalk above the bulb. Do not trim off the long bottom root. Store unwashed beets in a plast bag up to one week in the refrigerator. Recommend only buying a few beets at a time to avoid waste.

FUEL Tip: Eat beets after a hard workout to help refuel and reduce inflammation and improve recovery.

Sadly, most have only eaten canned or pickled beets. Few have had a fresh beet experience. Nutritionally, fresh beets are superior to the canned or pickled varieties. Do not let the stubborn looking dirty root intimidate you. Here are a few easy instructions and recipe for your first beet-tastic experience!

Olive Oil Spray
4 medium beets, scrubbed and trimmed of stems and roots
Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat with oil spray four squares of foil large enough to wrap beets. Place each beet on a foil square. Pinch together and seal foil edges to form a pocket. Keeping them spaced apart, stand beets on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking pan.
  2. Bake until tender when pierced with fork, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Peel back foil to expose beets and let stand until beets are cool enough to handle but still warm. Remove skins. (To avoid stained hands, use disposable gloves while slipping off the skin with a paring knife.) Cut beets into wedges.
  4.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Be sure to share you Beet-Fastic Exeperience!!!

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