Most people are familiar with the red beets that you mostly find in your grocery store or the supermarket. There are other root veggies that have different colours like the white beets, golden beets, and striped beets that are also healthy to eat.
Until recently I wasn’t aware that there were other types of beets that have different colours and tastes. My best friend invited me to her place one evening and she had prepared a delicious meal that included stripped and white beets. To my surprise the food was delicious and it didn’t taste anything like beets. That is when I discovered the other different types of beets and how to cook them.
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Beets are mostly known for their deep purple-red colour that is produced by colour compounds called betains. They give your bowl of soup and the beet juice the red colouring which also stains your hands and clothing as you prepare the red beets. You might not even want to eat the beets again once you visit the restroom and notice the red colour in your urine.
White beets look more like turnips and aren’t as sweet as the other beet varieties. They also don’t bleed their colour and don’t have an earthy taste like the red beets. They have a sweet mild flavour with a firm texture but if left to grow too large it becomes fibrous and rough. The beet stems are broad and large and the dark beet leaves can be eaten. White beets don’t contain the betalain pigment that gives beets their colour, strong and earthy flavour.
White beets nutrition
Beets are very high in fiber vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. It’s low in calories, no fat content, and gluten-free. Unlike the red or yellow beets that contain betains, antioxidants that give them their colour, the white beets don’t have it. The beets greens have more nutritional content than the beet root. It contains double the amount in beta-carotene, fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, folic acid, potassium, iron, riboflavin, etc. however, they have the highest sugar content than any other veggie.
White beets facts
White beets are from the species Beta Vulgaris and have the highest sugar content than other veggies. The white beet is also known as the sugar beet or albino beet because it has no colour. There are different varieties of the white beet that you can plant in your garden for their greens while others like the Geante Blanche is grown to make sugar.
How to cook white beets
Like all other beet varieties, white beets can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, roasted, or pickled. You can cook the beet greens the same way you cook spinach. The white beets would make an excellent addition to your salad because they don’t stain.
This is the most common way of cooking beets and you can still use it to cook white beets.
- Cut the stem but leave an inch at the top of the root and half an inch of the taproot at the bottom to prevent loss of flavour when cooking.
- Clean the beets with cold running water.
- Put them in boiling water to simmer until they’re tender enough for a fork to pass through easily.
- Remove the beets from the boiling water and let them cool then peel off the skin.
Roasting is also a common way of preparing beets but it only works if you separate the beets according to size.
- Preheat your oven to 45 degrees then line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel and cut the beets into cubes then put them in a bowl and coat them with olive oil and thyme. Arrange the beets individually on the baking sheet then sprinkle some sea salt.
- Put them in the oven and roast them for 10 – 20 minutes until tender. Put a fork through to check if they’re well roasted.
White beet versions
You will find white beets as small smooth baby beets that you will buy with their greens attached and the oversize, large, rough texture beets. The baby white beets are used in salads with their greens and they take a short time to cook them the larger beets have a mild but sweeter taste and they cook better when cut into smaller pieces. You can eat cooked white beets immediately by themselves or include them in soups, marinate them for your salad, or caramelize them to give you a sweeter flavour.
Just like other beets, white beets are rich in nutrients that are beneficial to your body. The only difference is the colour and they have a sweeter taste because of the high sugar content. You can cook the beets the same way you cook the red beets. Watch this to find out more about white beets.
Are white beets as nutritious as red beets?
All types of beets are rich in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, folate, iron, etc. but low in calories and contains no gluten or fat. The only thing that large white beets don’t contain is betalains, the antioxidants that give beets their color pigment.
Is it okay to eat white beets?
Apart from the common red beet, you can find other beets that are yellow, stripped, and white in colour. The white beets have a high sugar content which makes them sweet to eat raw but you can also cook, roast, or pickle them.
Why did my beets turn white?
Chioggia beets or Candy-stripe beets have red and white alternating rings and after cooking them they turn to pale pink. The betalains in beets are soluble in water and sensitive to high temperatures.
Are white beets healthy to eat?
Although they contain the highest sugar content among veggies, you can safely eat them a few time in a week but their greens are okay to eat every day.
Can you pickle white beets?
You can pickle white beets the same way you pickle red beets the only difference is the absence of the red pigment in the pickling liquid in the jar.