Beet Kvass

When I first head about a drink made out of soaked beets, I just couldn’t wrap my taste buds around the whole concept. When offered a glass, I literally puckered-up like I was about to sip poison, but I was pleasantly surprised! It tasted earthy, a bit salty, a hint of sour, yet a titch of sweetness and a light effervescence that I wasn’t expecting. I liked it!

The history of beet kvass is that the Ukrainians and Russians have been drinking it for over a thousand years–czars and peasants alike. An electrolyte drink, this lactose-fermented beverage could be called the traditional, real-food version of Gatorade since it provides great hydrating balance.

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Warm Beet Salad

Beets are an antioxidant-rich root vegetable that provides serious support for the liver and gallbladder. The deep pigments that give beets their rich color, called betalains, are special phytonutrients that provide anti-inflammatory and detoxification benefits.

Loaded with a variety of nutrients such as folate, potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function), magnesium, fiber, manganese (good for your bones, liver kidneys and pancreas) and immune-boosting vitamin C, beets are a great way to increase the nutrient-density of your diet. Eating beet root may help to lower blood pressure, boost your stamina, and fight inflammation and cancer.

And we’d be silly to throw away the beet greens! They are among the healthiest and most nutritious part of the plant! The greens supply significant amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron and calcium and may strengthen your immune system as well as support brain and bone health.

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Call in the Cauliflower!

“How’s your cruciferous vegetable intake?” asked the doctor never.

When concerned with anti-aging strategies, fighting off cancer, and reducing inflammation, cruciferous vegetables should be on your plate.

In general, cruciferous veggies are jam-packed with dietary benefits. They are low in calories, and high in fiber, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, and beneficial enzymes.

Crucifers contain important disease-fighting phytochemicals that may help lower your risk of cancers. In lab studies, the phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables – sulforaphane, indole 3-carbinol and crambene – stimulates enzymes in the body that detoxify carcinogens before they can damage cells.

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Beets with Garlic and Fennel

I planted my beets in February this year and I received a bumper crop! Unfortunately, they began to bolt last week so I knew it was time to harvest them. What to do with a sink full of beets? Ferment them!

 

Fermentation? Like beer? Well, yes, but . . .  You know that yogurt you enjoy? That’s fermented milk. Not only does it taste good, but it has probiotics – good bacteria – which benefit your digestion.  Did you realize that every civilization throughout time has had their history of fermented foods and beverages? They had to utilize fermentation for lack of refrigeration. Today, many of us eat versions of these ferments such as aged cheeses, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, wine and cider which all began as naturally fermented foods.

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Sweet On Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes aren’t just for Thanksgiving! I found this recipe for Chili-Bathed Sweet Potatoes from the NYT. Drooling over this mix of hot and sweet flavors on a cold winter’s night made me want to share the benefits of enjoying this incredibly delicious vegetable with you. Keep it simple and bake one for dinner, or make some baked sweet potato fries with lunch, or have a bowl of left-over mashed sweet potatoes with crumbled bacon for breakfast. Sweet potatoes also make a great dip or spread for snacks, appetizers or even on your morning toast. Check out some recipe ideas I’ve included below!

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Kale Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado

Have you noticed how gorgeous the grapefruits in your market are this year? Why not get a few Ruby Reds or Rios on your next visit for a refreshing, tangy pick-me-up full of many micronutrients including vitamin A and C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, manganese, folate and many B-vitamins. Some of the health benefits attributed to grapefruit include treating colds, fever and pneumonia, weight loss, boosting the liver, breaking up gallstones, lowering cholesterol, lessening joint pain, and promoting better digestion and immunity.

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