Beets have been revered, and despised, by humans for centuries. As beet lovers, here's 50 things you didn’t know about beets!
In Greek Mythology, legend tells that the secret to Aphrodite’s ageless beauty was that she ate heap-loads of beets. The Oracle at Delphi decreed beets to be worth their weight in silver because of their deep mystic potency.
Some cultures believe that if a man and woman eat from the same beet, they will fall in love.
The beet was initially cultivated around 2,000 BC in the Mediterranean region.
Humans originally ate just the beet greens and not the root, which were occasionally used in medicine.
Ancient Assyrian texts reveal that beets grew in the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon in 800 BC.
The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC) recommended beets for binding wounds, cleansing the blood, and treating digestive problems.
Despite only growing well during spring and fall, beets were so well regarded in Ancient Rome and Greece that methods were developed for producing them during the hot summer months.
The ancestor of the cultivated beet is the wild sea beet, which grew in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Their leaves have been eaten since prehistoric times.
The root part of the beet was cultivated for consumption in either Germany or Italy, first recorded in 1542.
Northeastern Europe was the first area to embrace the beet root as a dietary staple; it was valued as one of the only vegetables that grew well throughout winter.
Since the 16th century, beet juice has been used as a natural red dye. It was even used as a hair dye!
In 1747 Andreas Sigismund Marggraf, a chemist from Berlin, discovered a way to produce sucrose from beets.
A type of beet known as the sugar beet is the source of around half of the world's refined sugar. Sugar beets contain 20% sugar compared to 8% sugar in red beets.
THEO’s BEET Jerky is made with organic red beets – less sugar & more nutrition!
Beets are a natural source of tryptophan and betaine, both substances that promote a feeling of well-being.
They also contain high amounts of boron, a trace mineral which increases the level of sex hormones in the human body.
The high iron content in raw beets can be helpful for people who suffer from anemia and fatigue.
Beets also contain betaine, a substance that relaxes the mind and is used in other forms to help treat depression.
The nitrates in beets can enhance exercise performance by increasing nitric oxide production and can also help your blood carry more oxygen and help your blood cells work more efficiently.
Beets also contain unique antioxidants called betalains, which are currently being studied as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer.
Beets are an excellent source of folate, vitamin A and K, and a very good source of manganese, copper, and potassium.
Beets are high in fiber, which helps with satiety and regularity.
There are 43 calories in 100 grams of red beets.
Beets are 88% water (and 100% superfood).
Another important nutrient in beets is magnesium. Magnesium has a variety of functions, including preventing inflammation that leads to serious conditions like heart disease, osteoporosis, and even asthma.
One of the many benefits of beets is that they are loaded with folates, including folic acid and B9. These important nutrients can lower your risk of heart disease by reducing the amount of homocysteine in your blood, and it has plenty of other health benefits as well.
Beets have long been considered an aphrodisiac in many cultures. Ancient Romans believed that beets and their juice promoted amorous feelings.
The heaviest ever beet was recorded at 52 pounds – that’s the same as 70 ordinary beets! And the longest beet? It measured 24 feet! The beets we use are just 3 inches long, for reference.
The rosy betalain-rich juice of red beets was used as a cheek and lip stain by women during the 19th century, a practice that inspired the old adage red as a beet.
Need to get rid of garlic breath? Eat some raw beets.
Beets can make for a decent hangover cure as it’s filled with nutritional benefits that eliminate toxins from alcohol consumption.
What do Michelle Obama, Emma Stone and Albert Einstein have in common? They all hate beets. 😥 Michelle famously removed beets from the White House’s organic garden.
Dwight Schrute is a big fan of beets, though.
Beets can be fermented into wine.
Beets can make your urine red or pink. Be forewarned after you eat BEET Jerky!
Beet juice can indicate the acidity of a solution. If a solution turns pink when beet juice is added, it is an acid. If it turns yellow, the solution is alkaline.
In Britain people tend to call beets “beetroot” and in the U.S. people mainly call beetroot “beets.” Does anyone call it rootbeet?
Around 20% of the world's sugar comes from sugar beets.
Beets are a member of the chenopod family. Its relatives are swiss chard, spinach, and quinoa.
Beets are also known as THE BLOOD TURNIP. Sounds like an attractive rebrand for us.
Beets are most extensively grown in temperate to cool regions or during the cooler seasons. Cool beets!
From seed to harvest, beets normally take about 7 to 8 weeks until they’re ready to go.
As a root vegetable, beets are available year round, but they’re at their best from June to October.
Beets are most commonly a dark red color, however they also come in other hues ranging from white to yellow to red-and-white.
Here are some common beet cultivars:
- 'Albino', heirloom (white root)
- 'Bull's Blood', heirloom
- 'Chioggia', heirloom (distinct red and white zoned root)
- 'Crosby's Egyptian', heirloom
- 'Cylindra' / 'Formanova', heirloom (elongated root)
- 'Detroit Dark Red Medium Top', heirloom
- 'Early Wonder', heirloom
- 'Golden Beet' / 'Burpee's Golden', heirloom (yellow root)
- 'Perfected Detroit', 1934 AAS winner
- 'Red Ace' Hybrid
- 'Ruby Queen', 1957 AAS winner
- 'Touchstone Gold' (yellow root)
Our first batches of THEO’s BEET Jerky were made with the dark red ‘Merlin cultivar’!
When harvested, the entire beet is edible, from its leaves, down to its pointed root. Sautéed beet greens anyone?
If you buy beets with their greens attached, be sure to cut ‘em off before storing! The greens will take moisture away from the beet.
Beets can be consumed raw, boiled, roasted, steamed, and even dried into BEET Jerky!
We recommend peeling beets before cooking or eating, though you can do this after cooking them. If you’re going to cook or juice them unpeeled, we suggest giving them a proper scrub.
For added nutrition and to reduce food waste, THEO’s BEET Jerky keeps the peel on!
BEET Jerky is (probably) the easiest and tastiest way to get your beets in.
- Agribusiness Handbook Sugar Beet White Sugar (2009). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States, FAO Investment Centre Division. Web, Sept. 2014.
- Biancardi, E., Panella, L.W., Lewellen, R.T. (2012). Beta Maritima: The Origin of Beets. Springer New York. ISBN: 9781461408413
- Beets, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories, NutritionData https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2348/2
- Bryan, Nathan, and Carolyn Pierini. Beet the Odds: Harness the Power of Beets to Radically Transform Your Health. Austin, TX: Neogenis Labs.
- Hamilton College, Research Files, Beets (Beta Vulgaris). https://academics.hamilton.edu/foodforthought/Our_Research_files/beet.pdf
- Lawrence Erlbaum Asociates, Inc. Betalains, Phase II Enzyme-Inducing Components From Red Beetroot(Beta vulgarisL.) Extracts. n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2014.
- Rupp, Rebecca. How Carrots Won the Trojan War: Curious (but True) Stories of Common Vegetables. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub., 2011. Print.
- Wikipedia Foundation, Inc., website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beets.