Anyone who embraces his or her Ukrainian heritage is in the midst of a very busy time. Some of you might be puzzled by this, but anyone who enjoys Ukrainian cuisine knows that it’s the time of the year to celebrate the bounty of the beet. No other cultural group utilizes the common beet as well as Ukrainians. (But I admit I might be a bit biased about this.)
For the past few weeks beet leaves have been at the perfect stage for lazy beet rolls, beet and rice holubsti, and doughboys, or beetniks, as some call them. Just wrap a beet leaf around some dough, bake and voila, doughboys! Add a delicious dill cream sauce and a gourmet treat is at hand.
The young beets are also perfect for spring borsch. Nothing is as tasty as that first pot of beet soup straight from the garden. A slice of homemade bread to sop up the juice makes this a complete meal.
As the beet roots mature and become larger, huge stock pots of soup will be prepared and stored for winter use. This is also a good time to make some delicious beet relish to use as a garnish for many dishes. For extra zing horseradish can be added which takes this condiment to a whole new level.
Beets are excellent for pickles which are a colorful addition to any meal. The beets can also be cooked up like any other vegetable. I also remember my Baba making beet jelly.
The versatile beet offers many uses but for Ukrainians it has been a mainstay in their diet for generations. And you just can’t beat that!
Excerpt from Breast Friends Inspire Health, cookbook #6, page 123
Beets have unique detoxifiers, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories which are shown in their deep red-purple colour. Beets help to detoxify the kidney and liver. In studies, beets’ betalains helped to reduce tumour growth in the colon, nerve, lung, stomach, breast and prostate. The carotenoids in beets are important for eyes
12 cups ground beets 11/2 cups white sugar
2 cups vinegar Ground horse radish to taste
3 tsp pickling salt
Boil vinegar, pickling salt and sugar. Pour over beets. Add ground horseradish. Heat until hot. Put into sterilized jars, tighten and store.