Beets are delicious and nutritious from root to leaf! Rather than throwing away the beautiful beet stems from your bunches of beets, create a vibrant pickled beet stems side-dish.
Why Eat Beet Stems?
Filled with nutrients, such as betalain (what gives the beet its beautiful color that leaks onto counters, hands, and cutting boards), beet stems are a powerful source of antioxidants, reducing inflammation and oxidative stress (both linked to heart disease). Also high in fiber and minerals, beet stems are nutritious and versatile in recipes. Stems may be blended in smoothies (with a quality blender), juiced with fruits and veggies, sauteed with seasonings, or steamed in soups.
When eaten raw, the stems have a satisfyingly refreshing crunch like biting into a cold pickle or crisp celery stick. Although the stems may have a slight bitter flavor for some, the pickling ingredients enhance the stems' unique taste. This is one of the many beet recipes that I love preparing for my grandpa (who is reaching his 100th birthday this month). He is an avid beet eater, who enjoys beetroots and beet greens. Quick-pickled beet stems was a new dish for him to experience, and he loves it. A side of beet stems is the perfect addition to my grandpa's mashed potatoes and roasted chicken (his favorite)!
Quick-pickled stems work best when they are eaten within a few hours or day of pickling; otherwise, if soaked too long, the stems become tough and chewy.
Not sure what to do with beet greens or beets? Stop by "Eating the Beet from Root to Leaf" for ideas for eliminating waste and enjoying the amazing beet from its root to its gorgeous leaves. Plus- you can peruse an index of over 20 un"BEET"able recipes. Enjoy!
What are your faovrite ways to eat beets? I would love to hear from you!
INGREDIENTS (2-4 servings as a side dish)
- Stems from 1-2 large bunch of red and/or golden beets*
- 4 Tbsp red wine or apple-cider vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar or honey
- 1/2 tsp salt (add more to taste)
- Freshly ground pepper
- Leaves from 2 thyme or rosemary sprigs
*Stem colors will vary due to diverse beet varieties.
1. Cut stems on the bias into ¼-inch slices. Place stems in a small bowl.
2. Bring vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in sugar or honey, salt, pepper, and thyme; pour over stems.
3. Let stand at least 20 minutes. Yields ½ cup.
Recipe adapted from Chef Clayton Chapman