“The beet is the most intense of vegetables.
The radish, admittedly, is more feverish,
but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent, not of passion.
Tomatoes are lusty enough,
yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity.
Beets are deadly serious.”
Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love and beauty) ate beets to retain her beauty, interesting! Back in the time when Aphrodite was worshiped most strongly people ate the greens not the root. It took the Romans to first cultivate the beet for its root. It took until the 19th century and Napoleon declaring that the beet be the primary source of sugar, for beets to truly become popular. Today beets are grown commercially in the United States, Russia, France, Poland, France and Germany.
Today the leaves and the roots are eaten; they are included in soup, juice, salads, and can be pickled, as well as baked. Eaten raw they can be grated and put in salads. When braising greens, such as chard and mustard greens, just add beets at the same time, for a healthy lift. Beets have 3.2 g Protein, 0.4 g Fat, 8.1 g Carbohydrates, and 3.8 g Dietary Fiber. Since the greens are high in magnesium they make a valuable addition to the compost pile also!
Beets have also been used in folk medicine. Since it is a potent blood and liver cleanser it can help the body in overcoming many blood problems, acting as a wonderful tonic. To help build blood in anemia or help in controlling cholesterol levels juice beets and carrots together. In ancient times, Hippocrates used dried beet leaf to stop bleeding in wounds. The Romans used the juice as an aphrodisiac.