Beets are a very nutritious food, generally known for their red or purple roots, but some varieties have white or yellow roots; beet greens are also very nutritious
Harvest season in the LV: late June through early November
Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil, avoid high nitrogen levels.
Pollination: Bees are important pollinators for beets, but pollination is not important if growing only for the roots & greens.
Cooking/Preparation required: The root is usually boiled or steamed, but can also be eaten raw. (Keep cooking times short to preserve betalains.) Beet is also a popular addition to juice drinks and smoothies; borscht is a beet soup that originated in Russia or eastern Europe. Young beet greens are a favorite for salad; larger leaves may be steamed or lightly stir-fried.
Fertilizers or pesticides: None needed. (Beets are not on either the ‘Dirty Dozen’ or ‘Clean Fifteen’ list.)
Nutrients: Very low in calories, excellent source of folates & iron, vitamin B3 & B6, & minerals, unique source of anti-inflammatory & antioxidant compounds called betalains; beet greens are particularly high in vitamins & antioxidants.
Nutrient content can vary greatly depending on soil conditions, with organic methods and a soil rich in organic matter generally producing the best results.
‘Dirty Dozen’ or ‘Clean Fifteen’ lists do not necessarily apply to produce grown on local farms — you need to check with the farmer to determine if and when any fertilizers or pesticides were applied.