Beets are a vegetable many people cannot stand because they can taste a bit like dirt if they are prepared incorrectly. However, beets are a beautiful purple vegetable packed with health benefits. Once you have had beets done right, you might change your opinion on this root vegetable. Beets are also easy to grow. So when are these powerhouse beets in season, you might ask?
Beets are known as cool-season vegetables. This is because they are harvested during fall and again in spring. Luckily, beets have a short growing period of seven to eight weeks. You can harvest fresh beets for an extended period by planting your beets at different times. Beets are also easy to preserve.
When Are Beets In Season?
Beets should be planted in the late summer to harvest in fall or in late winter to harvest in spring. Beets can grow in almost any soil, provided they are watered correctly. However, beets are mainly harvested in fall in spring and cannot tolerate extreme hot or cold temperatures.
Because beets do not require specific soil or temperatures, beets can grow in any location. In America, 38 states produce beets. The biggest beet producers are in New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, and California. This is good news, as it means that you can easily grow beets in your garden.
To plant beets, you put the seeds in the soil and wait. The beets should break the ground’s surface within a week to ten days. During the germination period, you should keep the soil moist. When the beet plants break the surface, thin out the additional plants. There should be approximately nine plants per square foot.
The plants that you pull from the ground can be used in salads. They are delicious and nutritious. Plant your beets’ in a full sun area and ensure they receive about one inch of water each week. Six to eight weeks after planting, you will be able to start harvesting your beets.
How Do You Harvest Beets?
Within six weeks of planting your beet seeds, you can start harvesting your beets. The shoulders of the beets will stick out of the ground so you can determine the size of the beets based on their diameter. When the beets are approximately the size of a golf ball, you can start to harvest them.
These beets are small. They taste sweet and are tender. You can also wait for our beets to grow bigger, between two and three inches in diameter. If the beets grow bigger than three inches, they are still edible. However, they will taste more fibrous and not as sweet.
It is advisable to water your beets two days before you intend to harvest them. This will help the beets pull out of the soil easier. Then, to harvest the beets, take the beets where the leaves meet the root and pull the beet out of the ground.
If you intend to use your beets immediately, you can rinse them thoroughly to get rid of the dirt. However, if you want to store your beets, you can leave them in a cool, dry place until the soil has dried. Then, wipe the dirt off the beets. Wash them before you intend to use them.
Which Parts Of The Beet Can Be Eaten?
Another great thing about beets is that you can eat the entire plant. Beet leaves are packed with antioxidants and nutrition. Beet leaves can either be cooked or used raw in salads. The part of the beet that is mainly used is the plant’s root.
Many people like to peel the beets because the skin might still have some soil. However, if you wash your beets thoroughly, there is no reason to peel them. You can cook the entire beets together or remove the leaves and cook them separately.
When you cut the leaves off, be sure to leave one or two inches of the stalk on the root. This will help stop bleeding and flavor loss when the beets are cooked.
Can You Store Beets For A Long Time?
Beets are best used within a short while of harvesting them. However, if you leave your beets unwashed and in a plastic bag, they can last for about two weeks in the fridge.
If you wish to store your beets for longer than this, you should store them in a container with sawdust or sand. Keep the beets in a cool, dry place to prevent them from rotting.
When you use beets that have been stored, discard any beets that feel soft, as they are no longer fresh. You can also freeze beets. However, before freezing, you need to boil your beets. Frozen beets can be stored for up to a year.
What Is The Best Way To Cook Beets?
The truth is that there are many ways to cook beets. Most people are familiar with store-bought pickled beets and boiled beets. However, you can prepare beets in many other ways.
- You can roast your beets to elevate their sweet, earthy flavors. Roasted beets are lovely in a salad or served with meat.
- Athletes often use beet juice as it provides a lot of energy and nutrients.
- You can pickle your own beets by storing them in a pickling juice (water, pickling salt, and sugar). Home-made pickled beets are far superior to store-bought beets.
- You can slice your beets thinly and bake them in the oven to make beetroot crisps.
- You can even eat beets raw. This is something you should undoubtedly try when your beets are fresh from the ground.
These are just some of how you can prepare beets. Beets go well with cheese, red meat, and grains such as quinoa.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Beets?
Beets have many health benefits. Here are some of the main health benefits of beets. However, note that this is by no means a comprehensive list.
- The deep purple color of beets is thanks to the Betalains in beets. Betalains are a pigment that is high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Beets are high in fiber. Fiber is necessary for gut health and digestion.
- Beets contain nitrates. Nitrates help open blood vessels and lead to better athletic performance and concentration.
- Beets are also high in various vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and folate.
When Should You Limit Your Beet Intake?
Beets are an exceptionally healthy vegetable and can be enjoyed regularly. However, beets are high in oxalates, which can cause kidney stones. If you suffer from kidney stones, you should limit your intake of beets.
Luckily, most people do not have a sensitivity to oxalates or are prone to kidney stones and can enjoy beets to the fullest.