Fertility Superfoods: Pickled Beets Can't Be Beat!
Late Summer is the season of abundance and since August, I have been harvesting so many delicious fruits and vegetables from the garden, I can’t keep up eating everything fresh so I have been as busy as a squirrel by preserving my bounty to be eaten later.
Pickled beets are one of my favorites. It’s beautiful to look at, boosts an impressive nutritional content and is absolutely delicious. Here are some quick facts on why beets should be a part of your fertility diet.
Beets are loaded with betaine which helps protect cells, proteins and enzymes from environmental stress. It is also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular function and help prevent chronic problems like strokes and cardiovascular diseases. Inflammation is found to be one of the core causes of infertility for both men and women. Many of the modalities that we utilize at Acubalance including acupuncture, laser therapy, supplements and lifestyle/dietary recommendations are all about combating inflammation in the body to improve health outcomes and fertility.
Rich in Valuable Nutrients
Beets are loaded in vitamin C which is great for immune health, potassium which is essential for nerve and muscle function, and manganese which is necessary for bone, liver, kidney and pancreas health. Pregnant mamas will also be happy to learn that beets are high in folate, a B vitamin which helps reduce the risk of birth defects. Using vinegar to pickle will help extract the minerals and make them more bioavailable to your body.
Betalain is a the compound that gives beets their signature red or golden color. This pigment is great at supporting the detoxification because it helps the liver bind unnecessary compounds to be excreted out of the body. It is one of my favorite foods to recommend to patients who need support with blood deficiency or stagnation because it helps cleanse the blood. If you are a patient of mine and we are working to regulate your cycle, beets are one of my favorite foods to recommend.
PICKLED BEET RECIPE
2 cups vinegar (apple cider or pickling)
1 cup water
~ 3 pounds of beets
2 small bay leaves
Pinch of ginger powder
Pinch of cinnamon powder
Pinch of all spice
1.5 tsp whole black peppercorn
½ tsp mustard seed
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp coriander
1 clove chopped garlic
1 oz of dill weed
Large stock pot to sanitize jars in
Saucepan to marinate brine
Pot to cook beets in
Sanitize the Canning Jars
In a large pot, bring your canning jars and lids to boil for 30 minutes to sanitize. This recipe will fill about 3 - 500 mL canning jars. This pot should be large enough to cover your jars while they are standing upright. I use my stockpot for this.
Marinate the Brine
Bring all ingredients except beets and dill to a boil in a small saucepan on the stove. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Prepare the Beets
In a separate pot, boil the beets until they are cooked through.
Place beets in an ice bath and peel them by rubbing the skin gently. When cooked, the beet skins should roll right off without much pressure.
Cut beets into a size that you would like. I like mine in about 1 inch chunks but sliced or quartered work just as well.
Can the Beets
Fill your sanitized canning jars halfway with cut beets
Add a layer of fresh dill weed.
Fill the canning jar the rest of the way with cut beets leaving about a ¾ inch space from the top.
Divide the brine between the canning jars. Some of the liquid will have boiled off from the cooking process so it is ok to add in a little vinegar/apple cider vinegar to make sure that it gets filled to the top. Leave about ½ inch of space from the top of the jar but make sure all the beets are covered with liquid.
Warm Process to Preserve
Using a clean dishcloth, wipe off the rim of the jars to remove any potential food products.
Cover them with lids and screw the bands on loosely.
Place wire canning rack in the pot.
Place jars in the pot on top of wire canning rack.
Fill with water until jars are just covered.
Boil for 30 minutes
Remove from hot water using your jar lifter.
Set on counter to cool. Screw the lids tightly (careful! It is hot! Use a pot holder or kitchen towel). The lids should vacuum seal as the temperature cool down. You will hear them “pop”. If they do not seal within 45 minutes, it will not preserve and you should eat within a week. Sealed jars will store for up to a year.
Don’t forget, beet greens are delicious and nutritious as well. Historically, beets were originally grown for their nutritious greens. Over decades of selective breeding, the roots became more and more prominent in kitchens and gardens. It makes me cringe when I see beet tops in the compost bin because they are just as yummy as the roots. So don’t throw those tops away! Use them just as you would use swiss chard. Sautee them in a stir fry! Throw them into some scrambled eggs for breakfast!
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