Beets are like a Valentine’s Day gift from nature—deep red and oh-so-sweet. And they’re a great creative, culinary way to express your love this February 14, which the folks at FoodCorps pointed out to us.
FoodCorps sends its team of service members into schools around the country to educate kids about healthy food and where it comes from—through teaching, growing and tending school gardens, and making cafeteria food healthier.
This time of year, their lessons are chock full of beets. We asked three service members for healthy, creative ways to use beets this Valentine’s Day. They’re perfect for kids—and crafty (or hungry) adults.
After you’re done making a salad, use the beet scraps to paint a homemade card for your sweetie.
1. Collect beets and beet scraps. If you’re using whole beets, quarter them, or use the tips and tails that you cut off from using beets for other Valentine’s Day activities (or cooking).
2. Boil beets and beet scraps in water. Boil enough water and beets to make the amount and pigment you want. If you want a bold purple color, use a higher ratio of beets to water; if you want a nice pink, use a lower ratio of beets to water. You may have to experiment to get this right, but remember you can always boil your water for longer to concentrate the color.
3. Paint! Once the beet watercolor has cooled, use brushes or toothpicks to paint the beet watercolor onto cards, signs, or whatever else you want to make.
Note: If you’re planning to keep your beet watercolor around for a while, add a bit of vinegar to preserve it. You could also freeze beet watercolor and pull it out next time you need some nice pink/purple pigment.
“It doesn’t taste exactly like chocolate cake, but it’s very similar in texture and flavor, says Gerbatsch. “It’s rich, delicious, and with the added nutrition of beets.”
We reduced the amount of sugar typically called for by a cup because the beets and applesauce provide sweetness.
Puree in a food processor until smooth, and set aside:
3 cups cooked beets
3/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup baking cocoa
2 teaspoons vanilla
In a separate bowl, beat together:
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups canola oil
3/4 cups plain yogurt
Add the pureed beet mixture and mix for 90 seconds. Sift together:
3 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Add to other ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Spoon into a greased 13×18 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.
“This recipe made the kids’ mouths water and their hearts…beet,” Lichtinger says.
1. Chop the beet greens off, and set them aside (you can make simply delicious beet green pesto later). Wash the beets,
place them in a casserole dish with about an 1 inch of water, cover the dish with aluminum foil, and put them in an oven set at 425 degrees. Roast the beets for 45 minutes to an hour. Once your fork slides right into them, they’re done.
2. Once cool enough to handle, run the beets under cold water, peeling the skin off as you go.
3. Place the skinned beets in a food processor, along with these ingredients:
2 cups milk (whichever kind you prefer)
4 teaspoons of cinnamon
4 tablespoons of fair-trade cocoa powder
1 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons of honey
4. Blend away!