The Lowly Beet

By Organic Utopia's founder Jonathon Applestone

Give the beet a break. Beets suffer from an image problem. If there was a food chain in the vegetable world, beets wouldn't rank very high. Of course there is no food chain because vegetables don't eat each other: we're the ones who eat vegetables.

Now, back to the beet. Why do they get such a bad rap? I think it's because people don't know what to do with them. But let me tell you my favorite way to eat beets. Slather them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap them in tin foil and then stick them in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or so. When done, let them cool for a bit, now the rough skins will peel right off and you can eat a nice roasted beet. Just don't get the juice on your shirt! Because it'll stain. In fact, here's something about beet staining that I bet you didn't know: in the olden days beets were used as fabric dye. Yep, that's right, the red coloring of beets come from a molecule called betanin, which is a natural dye. The really crazy part is that the properties of betanin also produce very small electrical charges, so it's not too far a leap to say that beets will someday provide all of the world's energy. Well maybe not all of it, but a guy can dream can't he?

One more thing. What about beets sugar content? Oh yes, the lowly beet has a special place in the hearts and minds of the sugar industry. The sugar cane and the sugar beet share much of the same chemistry. Now it's unlikely that you've seen a sugar beet cause they don't look like the red beets you're used to seeing, but we here at Organic Utopia hope to change all that because coming this summer we're selling Make-Your-Own beet sugar kits. All the equipment needed to start growing your own sugar beets and processing them for sugar. We're also including recipe books so you can use the beet sugar syrup in your favorite cakes and cookies.