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Learn About… Beet Tops

Fresh beet tops

"Learn About..." is a recurring post where we'll look at lesser known herbs, greens, etc., and discuss their origin, health benefits, and everything in between!

leaves

Beet tops, or bull's blood, are exactly what they sound like—they're the leafy bits at the top of your beets. People hadn't been using them in their cooking for a while, discarding them as you would the tops of carrots, but the funny thing about this is way back when, only the greens were eaten.

Now, people are once again incorporating beet tops in their cooking and at the same time eliminating the amount of waste they make when they eat beets!

Beets (Beta vulgaris) are formally known as beetroots, as they are the taproots of (i.e. main/most dominant root) the beet plant.

They originate from the Mediterranean region, with a history reaching as far back as 2,000 B.C. Eventually, beets spread to Babylonia (modern Israel, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and parts of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Egypt) around 700 A.D., and to China in 850 A.D.

The ruby red vegetable has been used for many other things throughout history, including its use as table sugar, medicine, animal fodder, food colouring, and was once used as a remedy for garlic breath.

Not just a pretty face

Not only do they make your salads pop, but beets are also incredibly good for you. They contain an abundance of antioxidants, and have anti-inflammatory and detox properties. Rich in betaines, beets reduce your chances of developing heart diseases and stroke.

The lush greens are high in vitamin A and C, a great source of carotenoids, and flavonoid (which protects you from lung and oral cavity cancers)—exponentially more so than the beetroot itself.

And of course, as we know, the micro beet tops contain even more nutrients than their mature counterparts.

Not sure how to incorporate micro beet greens into your diet? Check out this amazing recipe from Naturally Ella, featuring heavenly burrata cheese!

Roasted Beets Burratab and Micro Green Salad

Roasted Beets and Burrata with Microgreens
Serves: 2-3

Beets
1 bunch chioggia beets
½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Micro Greens
1 cup micro greens
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon honey
Pinch salt and pepper
2 ounces burrata

1. Preheat oven to 400˚. Scrub beets and remove any wisps (or, peel the beet). Cut the beet in half and each half into ½” thick slices. Place in a roasting dish and toss with olive oil and sea salt. Roast for 40-45 minutes until beets are tender. Remove and let cool completely.

2. Once beets are cool, assemble the dish. Place beets on a plate and add burrata pieces. Place micro greens in a bowl and in a separate bowl, whisk together the small amount of dressing. Pour over the micro greens and toss until coated. Top the beets with the micro greens and serve.

In the Urban Cultivator…

Beet tops can be easily grown in your kitchen with the Urban Cultivator Residential unit.

These vibrant, healthy greens take about three weeks to grow before you can harvest, though we actually recommend that you thin it out anytime before that. One flat of beet top seeds (roughly half a cup of seeds) will yield around 114 grams of the green.

Start seeing red and incorporate Bull's Blood into your diet! How else do you use these lovely greens? Let us know in the comments section!

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