Friday, June 15, 2012

Beets, and the habit of eating foods you don't really want to because they are "healthy"

I really believe that everything we do, we do out of habit.  Everything from the actions we take, or don't take, to how we think about the actions we take or don't take!  If and when I do something opposite to how I think, and/or feel, I should, I remind myself that it's just a habit I am in complete decision about changing if I want to.

Some of the "eating" and "thinking" habits that occasionally pop up is deciding to eat foods I don't really want to because:

#1 I don't want to "waste" them.
#2 Nutritionally speaking they are healthy, like beets.  And if they are pretty like this variety of Chioggia beets, then they are less irresistible!

So what's wrong beets, or eating beets?  Nothing, of course.  And since I rarely chose to buy beets, therefore I rarely waste them.  I don't buy beets because I find, for me personally, beets don't digest well, I put them in the same category as potatoes and butternut squash, and I try and avoid eating them....I already know this from keeping a food journal.  Sometimes I'm more successful than other times, but unlike butternut squash I don't like the taste of beets (or potatoes) enough to eat them solely for nutritional reasons.  So why do I have them?  Because for some reason this world has an overabundance of beets!  Seriously, I get them in my CSA all the time, yet I can't remember, for the life of me, one person who answers the following question:

"What did you have for dinner? (or lunch)"

"Beets!  And they were delicious!"

Who the heck is eating all of these beets?  I'm not saying that I haven't enjoyed roasted baby beets (greens and all) occasionally, or a raw beet salad (like the one I'm making with these), but really?  There are always a ton of beets at the markets and the Farmers Markets!

Do you buy beets regularly?  And if so what, besides putting them in a salad are you doing with them?

PS  My favorite "greens" are in fact beet green! And if I buy beets I'll only buy them if the greens attached are huge and fresh.  I always end up putting the root in my fridge to use another time, only to end up throwing them away after a couple of weeks :(

23 comments:

Maribel said...

I looooove beets! I rarely buy them, but I will grab a couple pieces at the salad bar at work just to snack on. Have you tried making Borsch? I haven't, but it's on my list of things to make.

As for eating things you think are healthy, this reminds me of when the "fat free" trend started in the early 90's (?). I remember buying "fat free" everything and actually gaining weight!!!! Totally different from what you're talking about, but it just reminded me of that.

toughmuddette.com said...

I love beets! But I always forget that I love them, so I rarely end up buying them. One way I eat them is roasted with onions. Then I usually throw an egg or two over the top for some protein for a quick meal. Another way - pickled! I don't pickle them myself...but now that I said that, I think I might try it!!

Tracy Reifkind said...

Maribel, before I read tufmud's comment I was going to ask you if it's pickled beets you like, or non pickled beets...big difference!

Pickled veggies in general are yummy and therefore easy to overeat. Most pickled veg are pickled with vinegar and a generous amount of sugar! Not that I don't like sugar mind you...but I'll eat mine in a piece of candy!

I have made a beet soup, but not specifically Borsch. True Borsch has cream, a lot of it, and I don't usually eat soups with cream because I have cream every morning and that's enough! But Borsch tastes like it smells! Like beets!

Oh, and some, no a lot, of people are still stuck in the "fat free" days! Personally I'm waiting for the high carb diet! Or the ice cream and cake diet!

Tracy Reifkind said...

tufmud, Yep, it's not that I don't like them, but roasting them takes a long time, and beets require prep time too. you have to peel them at some point and your hands turn all red...the pay off for the time and effort just puts them low on my list.

As far as pickling beets...super duper easy! but super duper easy to overeat! Basically cook in vinegar and sugar!

Because I like the greens so much I used to buy beets more often and found myself pickling them as anther way of not wanting to "waste" them.

Meg Lloyd, RKC said...

I'm with Maribel on this one. I absolutely love beets. I buy them (every week) at the Farmer's Market (all year round) and eat them at least 3 times per week. I'll even put a hard boiled egg into some beet juice overnight so that I have pretty (and yummy) eggs to eat the next morning!

guy said...

Ok, I'm that guy,(no pun intended)but, I can't stand beets! I don't know why but they trip my gag reflex. The ony way I have'nt tried them I guess, is roasted. I tried them pickled in Korea & Japan (they're called Umeboshi...my friends loved them, I did'nt).
I guess I'll man up & try roasting them. I hope it's worth it. :(

Tracy Reifkind said...

Meg,

Geez....you train with somebody every week, twice a week, for over 3 years and you never know they love beets!

I have to say however, I thoroughly just enjoyed my beets and chicken salad right now (and I have enough for another tomorrow!)

Tracy Reifkind said...

Guy,

don't trip! Skip the beets! There are so many other foods that you don't have to choke down...like onions! lol

Mich said...

I have the opposite problem - I always use up the bulbs but often waste the greens...
I roast the beets without the greens but with the skin on; after the roasting is done the skin slips off easily. (I use the directions found here but usually go with 400F rather than 425.) I roast a large quantity at one time and just eat them cold as a side dish throughout the week.

Tracy Reifkind said...

Mich,

True, if you roast them then no need to peel until they are done. I think you found the answer...which is to roast a whole heck of a lot of them at one time (if you like them) because I imagine, like you said, they last a long time in the fridge pre cooked.

You should try roasting a large batch of baby beets with the greens attached. When I used to roast them I would cut them in half (leave the greens on). If you cut only the root in half, you can split the greens apart evenly by grabbing each half of the root and pull. The greens are highly nutritious as well as delicious! (oh, and of course they don't take as long since they are much smaller!)

You can use the greens (stems removed) the same way you use spinach. You really are missing out by throwing them away. Also, for the freshest product you should always buy beets with the greens. If the greens are cut off it usually means the product is older.

Thanks for your comment!

Kimberly said...

Tracy, is that a mandoline you used to julienne your beets? What type is it?

Kimberly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracy Reifkind said...

Hey Kimberly!

It's kind of a mandoline....

Since I'm into trying as many raw vegetables as possible at one time I invested in finding and buying as many different types of slicing/mandoline tools as I could.

This particular shredder I purchased at a Japanese/Chinese market and paid $25 bucks for, which was expensive (maybe it was $50?) At the time I thought it would be a good "slicer" since it came with a few different interchangeable attachments.....but the "slicing" attachment sucks! The one pictured is the "med" of the shredding size options and the one I find the biggest value in....although now that you have made me take a trip to my gadget drawer I'm looking at the larger one that I forgot about....lol!

It's the one I use for carrot (if I use carrot), and broccoli stalks, and of course raw beets.

I could not find a brand name on it, sorry :( But you bring up an important subject, which is, in fact, tools for food prep.

My BBF Fawn has an awesome Japanese mandoline that slices really really fine but she got it long ago in her years of being a professional Chef.

Good question though! Stay tuned, I'll post more info on food prep tools!

Thank you for your comment!

Kimberly said...

Thanks for the info, Tracy! I have an OXO mandoline which can be difficult to use and did some serious (but thankfully temporary) damage to my thumb a few months ago. (Fortunately, it did not interfere with two big things in my life: kettlebells and the cello.)

I love beets! I like to cook them in the pressure cooker (minus greens). It takes just a few minutes and they're perfectly tender. One of my favorites is a salad with thinly sliced beets, arugula and a dressing of ginger, garlic, lemon juice and zest, balsamic vinegar and canola oil.

Andrea Reyna said...

My love affair with beets began in a most unconventional way. For most of my life, I loathed their existence and shunned any food that dare touch them. That was until I moved to Serbia.

In Serbia, processed foods are imported from the EU which puts them beyond the economic reach of most of the country. To prepare for the winter, people preserve vegetables much like they have for generations. People who live in the cities didn't usually do this for themselves, but they procured them from family who lived in the villages or at the open markets from villagers.

Since I was often a guest of families, I didn't want to offend anyone and not try their food. Luckily I was always able to avoid liver, but when beets feel in front of me, I had to suck it up and try them. To my amazement, it was love, sweet love. Unlike sickeningly sweet American beets, these were full of a flavor that had never crossed my lips before. Having these beets would turn into an obsession for me. Mothers and grandmothers would send me jars of their homemade beets happy that a foreigner discovered their magic.

Having a steady source wasn't enough for me. I had to learn how to make the magic for myself. I expected a cooking boot camp and needing to take a copious amount of notes. Ne.

-Boil washed beets for an hour and let them sit for a day
-Peel beets and cut off ugly bits
-Slice to a desired thickness, not too thick or thin
-place in jars or bowls
-add freshly grated horseradish to taste (the most important additive!)
-add vinegar to taste
-fill to cover with water
-add some salt
-let sit for at least a day
-eat!

Andrea Reyna said...

My love affair with beets began in a most unconventional way. For most of my life, I loathed their existence and shunned any food that dare touch them. That was until I moved to Serbia.

In Serbia, processed foods are imported from the EU which puts them beyond the economic reach of most of the country. To prepare for the winter, people preserve vegetables much like they have for generations. People who live in the cities didn't usually do this for themselves, but they procured them from family who lived in the villages or at the open markets from villagers.

Since I was often a guest of families, I didn't want to offend anyone and not try their food. Luckily I was always able to avoid liver, but when beets feel in front of me, I had to suck it up and try them. To my amazement, it was love, sweet love. Unlike sickeningly sweet American beets, these were full of a flavor that had never crossed my lips before. Having these beets would turn into an obsession for me. Mothers and grandmothers would send me jars of their homemade beets happy that a foreigner discovered their magic.

Having a steady source wasn't enough for me. I had to learn how to make the magic for myself. I expected a cooking boot camp and needing to take a copious amount of notes. Ne.

-Boil washed beets for an hour and let them sit for a day
-Peel beets and cut off ugly bits
-Slice to a desired thickness, not too thick or thin
-place in jars or bowls
-add freshly grated horseradish to taste (the most important additive!)
-add vinegar to taste
-fill to cover with water
-add some salt
-let sit for at least a day
-eat!

Tracy Reifkind said...

Kimberly, the last time I cooked beets was also in the PC! But I can't remember what the heck I did with them after that! (?)

My favorite mandoline is a "V-Slicer". I wanted to buy one for my son and daughter in law but couldn't find one (I should have ordered it online, duh!), but ended up buying them an OXO...now I'm worried!

Tracy Reifkind said...

Andrea,

OK, I'm going to try it! Where the heck do you find fresh horseradish? And what does it look like? I'm assuming you grate it...it's a radish, duh, so it must look "radish-y" lol! Seems to me it looks more like a root veg?

Oh and white vinegar? or apple cider?

Thank for the story behind the recipe! Very entertaining!

KrisR said...

Count me as a lover of beets also. Roasted plain and simple are my favorites but I have a beetroot & wasabi relish recipe from yogajournal that I love.

4 med beetroot
1/4 c creme fraiche (I have used mayo in a pinch or yogurt)
1 tsp grated fresh wasabi or 1 tbs wasabi paste
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
s&p

1. Cook beetroot in water for 10-15 minutes until soft. Cool and remove skins.
2. Shred in food processor.
3. Add other ingredients.
4. Taste & adjust seasoning.
Keeps in airtight container in frig for 2-3 weeks.

I eat it by the spoonful for a snack.

Tracy Reifkind said...

KrisR,

Thanks! Will try, it looks easy, and what's not to like about a little creme fraiche?

Andrea Reyna said...

I buy it at an awesome (and cheap) market in Mountain View called Milk Pail. It looks like ginger. After taking off the outer layer I grate it. I really love the horseradish, so I add a lot. White vineager is the one to use. I think I forgot to mention it should be refrigerated. I didn't get to learn the full preservation technique.

Andrea Reyna said...

I buy it at an awesome (and cheap) market in Mountain View called Milk Pail. It looks like ginger. After taking off the outer layer I grate it. I really love the horseradish, so I add a lot. White vineager is the one to use. I think I forgot to mention it should be refrigerated. I didn't get to learn the full preservation technique.

Tracy Reifkind said...

Andrea...yep, I've been to the Milk Pail....it's right near BevMO!