Beets, along with their greens, belong to the Goosefoot family, known as Chenopodiaceae. Within the botanical family, beet greens are factored alongside spinach, Swiss chard, quinoa, lamb’s quarter, and a number of other wild plants, which means that beet greens can be placed in the “dark, leafy” category.
Because they are a cool season crop, beets grow quickly and can survive almost freezing temperatures, making them a favorite of northern gardeners. Beets and their greens also enjoy a longer than normal growing season.
It’s best to use beet greens within two or three days after refrigeration. Enjoy beet greens by themselves as a salad or with other leafy vegetables, or sauté them in a bit of olive oil or balsamic vinegar and salt for a delicious side dish.
Here’s a great tip: if you find yourself with too many beet greens, don’t throw them away. Freeze them and use for soup stock.
Health Benefits of Beet Greens
Besides supplying good amounts of protein, phosphorus, and zinc, beet greens are also a great source of fiber. Packed with antioxidants, they’re high in vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese, and low in fat and cholesterol. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, daily values of beet greens contain: 220% of vitamin A, 60% of vitamin C, 16% of calcium, and 15% of iron.
As if that weren’t enough, studies have also shown that the vitamin K in beet greens contains blood clotting properties, helps ward off osteoporosis, works with calcium to boost bone strength, and may also play a role in fighting Alzheimer’s disease. Beet greens have a higher iron content than spinach, and a higher nutritional value than the beetroot itself.
The vitamin A content in beet greens helps strengthen the immune system and stimulates production of antibodies and white blood cells. The beta-carotene in vitamin A is a known antioxidant that can fight the effects of free radicals in the body along with cancer and heart disease. Doctors often recommend vitamin A to patients at risk of developing night blindness.
|Calories from Fat||1|
|Total Fat||0 g||0%|
|Saturated Fat||0 g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrates||4 g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber||4 g||15%|
|Vitamin A127%||Vitamin C||50%|
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie.
Simple and Delicious Beet Greens
Don’t throw away those hearty green leaves that top fresh bundles of beets! They have a flavor similar to kale. This simple recipe will will help you make the most of your fresh beets.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the beet greens, and cook uncovered until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander, then immediately immerse in ice water for several minutes until cold to stop the cooking process. Once the greens are cold, drain well, and coarsely chop.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the greens until oil and garlic is evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper. Cook just until greens are hot; serve with lemon wedges.