Large White Beets
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|Food Buzz: History of Beets|
|Food Fable: Beets|
Large White beets are completely white in color and can range in shape from spherical to long and cylindrical. White beets do not have as strong of an earthy taste as red beets and also do not bleed their color. White beets can be picked at varying sizes but maintain their sweet, mild flavor and firm texture even when they grow large. however, when the White beet is allowed to grow too large the texture can become tough and fibrous. Large White beet stems and their long, broad, dark leaves are also edible as well.
Beets prefer rich, deep, and moist soil. Winter and spring are the best seasons for White beets but they can be grown year round.
The heirloom large White beet belongs to the species Beta Vulgaris. The beet root has one of the highest sugar contents of any vegetable. True to form, the large White beet also goes by the name Sugar beet or Albino beet. When in the garden, the tops of large White beet root must remain covered with soil so they maintain their white color instead of turning green. In the 1800s, George Washington the first president of the United States experimented with cross-pollinating different varieties of beets, chard, and mangels at Mount Vernon.
Beet root is high in fiber, folate, and manganese. It also offers vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. Beet greens are actually much more nutritious than the beet roots and contain twice the potassium, a high amount of beta-carotene, folic acid, fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, riboflavin, calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese, though the list goes on. Beets are low calorie, low fat, and gluten-free. The large White beet does not contain betalains, which are antioxidants that are responsible for the red and yellow color in other beets.
Large White beets, as with all other beets, can be eaten in a variety of ways. Beets can be eaten raw, roasted, boiled, steamed, sautéed, made into chips, or pickled. They pair well with citrus, nuts, and cheeses like feta and ricotta. Beets are used in many Eastern European dishes such as Borscht (a beet based soup.) Beet greens can also be eaten raw, steamed, or sautéed and are a good substitution for chard or spinach. The White beet in particular is a good candidate for salads because they do not stain. When choosing a large White beet they should feel heavy for their size and not have mushy or black spots on the root; the leaves should be upright, not wilted, and without yellow spots. Beets can be refrigerated for up to a week and will last longer without the stems. Beets can also be stored in the freezer.
Large White beets are used to make beet sugar because of the sweetness of the beet vegetable and their lack of color. White beets account for about 55% of sugar production in the United States; 95% of beets used for sugar are now genetically modified.
Beets seem to have originated in the Mediterranean region, where they were grown for thousands of years and were used for their leafy greens. The Romans were the first to grow both red and white beets for their edible roots. That is why the more common red beet is often referred to as a Roman beet. In the 1700s Germany and Holland began to produce beets for their sugar content. At the time, cane sugar was imported and expensive and beets began to be used to make sugar. Soon after, many factories emerged to create beet sugar, which looks identical to cane sugar, although slightly different in composition. Beets made their way to the United States sometime in the 1800s. In the United States today, about 50% to 55% of sugar production derives from white beets. beets are wind pollinated and can cross-pollinate with other beets or chard. Beet root is said to be easy to grow, but prefer cool weather for germination; it can withstand cold up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit..
Recipes that include Large White Beets. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Big Oven||Roasted White Beet Salad with Gala Apples - Trotter|
|Hip Pressure Cooking||White Beet and Garlic Saute|
|Foodie Goes Healthy||The Sweet/Savory Crunchy/Smooth Salad|