Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pressure-cooker borscht

The borscht produced by this recipe is actually quite different from Borsht No.1. The beet is cooked first, then the remaining root vegetables and cabbage. All the ingredients are brought together just before the borscht is eaten. Aficionados of borscht will certainly notice the difference. They'll love it anyway.

Pressure-cooker borscht


                                                                              Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized beet, about 7.5 cm. (3 in) in diameter
3 cups water
1 cup purple cabbage, grated
½ cup red onion, diced
1 carrot, grated
½ cup rutabaga, diced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh dill (whole)
2 - 3 cups pot liquor from steaming the beet
1 tablespoon lemon juice
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons commercial soured cream for each bowl of borscht

Chopped beet (center), chopped rutabaga (top right),
grated carrot (bottom right), and grated purple cabbage


Preparation:

1. Thoroughly wash the vegetables.

2. Place beet in pressure cooker with 3 cups of water. Raise temperature to boiling on 'High' heat, then reduce heat to 'Medium' and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, leaving the pressure cooker as it is to steam until the safety lock releases. 

3. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining vegetables as indicated above, i.e., grate the cabbage and carrot, peel and dice the rutabaga and red onion, and mince the garlic. 

4. When the pressure cooker's safety lock releases, remove beet to an air-tight container and leave to cool. Pour the liquid from the pressure cooker into a heat-proof container and reserve.

5. Place a steamer basket inside the pressure cooker. (See Pressure cooker - Part 2 to see what a steamer basket looks like if you don't know). Add three cups of water to the pressure cooker, just enough to touch the bottom of the a heat-proof, non-reactive dish, such as Pyrex™ or Corning Ware™, which you will place inside the steamer basket. 

Chopped and grated vegetables, except beets,
ready for cooking in the pressure cooker

5. Add the fresh dill and prepared vegetables, except the beet, to the dish inside the pressure cooker. Place the lid on the pressure cooker and cook these vegetables as you did the beet.

6. Meanwhile, peel and dice the beet, making a small dice. 

7. When the pressure cooker's safety lock releases, the prepared vegetables are finished cooking. Remove them to a non-reactive* soup pot, such as the glass pot shown in the image below. 

8.  Add diced beet, and the pot liquor reserved from cooking the beet. Bring to boil, then remove from the heat.

9. Add lemon juice and stir.

Beets and all borscht ingredients melding flavours prior to serving

10. Ladle into soup bowls and top each with commercial soured cream.

* The purpose of using a non-reactive cooking pot is to retain as much colour -- and therefore, phyto-nutrients -- as possible in borscht.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wilted beet greens with garlic

This small serving of wilted beet greens is a wonderful pick-me-up of delightful flavours. The quantities are only roughly provided since each bunch of whole beet greens will yield a different measure of chopped beet greens. 

Wilted beet greens with garlic

                                                                                  Yield: 1 serving
Ingredients:

1 bunch of beet greens, about 6 - 8 whole leaves with stalks
1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ghee (clarified butter)*
1 lemon wedge
Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, if desired


Preparation:

Beet leaves, washed and spun
1.  Sever the stalks and leaves from one or more beet roots. cut away the stalks and retain the beet greens. Wash the leaves, rinse, and spin them out in a vegetable spinner to remove as much water as possible.










Beet greens, sliced



2. Slice the leaves crosswise, to produce strips about 2 cm. (¾ in.) wide.









Garlic, minced, sauteing in ghee
3.  In a saute pan, heat the ghee to bubbling over high heat. Add minced garlic. Stir and cook until the garlic releases its fragrance. 

4. Add the beet greens. Stir or toss with two forks and cook for about 2 minutes, until the leaves are wilted.

5. Remove from heat.Turn out into a small dish together with lemon wedge. Grind sea salt and black pepper over the mixture, if desired.




* Ghee is clarified butter, i.e., butter from which milk residue has been removed. Yes, it is saturated fat but that is okay. Saturated fat is acceptable so long as you don't overdo it. The maximum intake of saturated fats (on average) should not exceed 7% of your daily calorie intake which, for an average woman, is approximately 2000 calories. That equals approximately 16 grams of saturated fat. One tablespoon of butter equals  7 grams of saturated fat; therefore, one teaspoon of ghee is well within the bounds of safety. In addition, should you choose to saute a larger quantity of beet greens than indicated in this recipe, they can still be wilted in the same single teaspoon of ghee. Or you can reduce the amount of ghee to, perhaps, half a teaspoon. As always, the choice is yours.

The nutritional value of beets - Part 11: Manganese

Beet greens


Beet greens - raw: Manganese
Measure: 38g (1 cup)
Calories: 8


Manganese
Manganese is a trace element for which there is no RDA*. However, it is agreed that it is an essential nutrient and that the estimated daily requirement is 2 - 5 mg. One cup of raw beet greens provides approximately 7% of this amount.

Manganese has been found useful in controlling inflammation and, as such, is indicated in controlling symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It has been shown to be fundamental to healthy production and function of the thyroid hormone. It is important in blood sugar control, neurotransmitter control, and metabolism in general.

* RDA has been made obsolete by the USDA and so, as of March 2011, when I do mention it, it shall only be as a quaint matter of historical interest. RDA has been replaced by three other measures which are (a) unrelated to RDA and (b) meaningless for all practical purposes at this time. This will remain the case until such time as the new measures are sufficiently and comprehensively developed to the point of serving a meaningful purpose.

For a broad overview of one of the new, incomplete standard measures, check out Dietary Reference Intake .

Additional information about the health benefits of beets may be found by following these links:

Nutritional value of beets - Part 10: Magnesium



Beet greens


Beet greens - raw: Magnesium
Measure: 38g (1 cup)
Calories: 8

Magnesium
The RDA* of magnesium is 350 mg for adult males and 300 mg for adult females, of which, one cup of raw beet tops provides 26.6 mg or 7%.

Magnesium increases the solution of calcium in urine and, thus, plays an essential role in preventing the formation of kidney stones.

Magnesium enables contractions of the heart. In its overall effects on muscles, it performs much the same functions as does potassium. 
Indeed, the symptoms of magnesium deficiency are the same as those of potassium deficiency. 

Your body requires an adequate supply of calcium in order to use magnesium, and calcium requires an adequate supply of Vitamin D in order to be absorbed into bones and muscles.

* RDA has been made obsolete by the USDA and so, as of March 2011, when I do mention it, it shall only be as a quaint matter of historical interest. RDA has been replaced by three other measures which are (a) unrelated to RDA and (b) meaningless for all practical purposes at this time. This will remain the case until such time as the new measures are sufficiently and comprehensively developed to the point of serving a meaningful purpose.

For a broad overview of one of the new, incomplete standard measures, check out Dietary Reference Intake .


Additional information on the health benefits of beets will be found by following the links below:

Nutritional value of beets - Part 9: Potassium





Beet greens




Beet greens - raw: Potassium

Measure: 38g (1 cup)
Calories: 8

Potassium
Potassium is an electrolyte. This mineral functions together with sodium and chloride. These mineral salts are called electrolytes because, when dissolved in water, they conduct electricity. This is essential to the healthy function of our heart, nerve cells, kidneys, adrenal glands, and our muscles in general, as well as to maintaining balanced body fluids.

Electrolytes function in +- pairs. That is, potassium(+) is joined to chloride (-) and sodium(+) is linked with chloride(-). 

In the resting state, potassium chloride is normally inside cells and sodium chloride is normally outside cells. However, when a nerve or muscle is activated, potassium chloride exits cells and sodium chloride enters cells. This is called the potassium-sodium pump. When there is a potassium deficiency, muscles and nerves fail to function because the potassium-sodium exchange is impaired or prevented.

Potassium deficiency is also indicated by heart disturbance, irritability, weakness, and mental confusion. The healthy rebalancing of potassium to sodium is best effected by eating whole foods rich in potassium, foods such as beet leaves, tomatoes and avocado. 


See the following posts for more information on the health benefits of beets:





Nutritional value of beets - Part 8: Vitamin K

Beet greens


Beet greens - raw: Vitamin K
Measure: 38g (1 cup)
Calories: 8

Vitamin K
Osteoporosis, anyone? 

If you are concerned to maintain strong healthy bones, Vitamin K has to be high on your list of "must haves." This vitamin is also essential to proper blood clotting.

Vitamin K was discovered in 1929. It came to be called by the letter K because it was designated as Koagulationsvitamin  in the German journal in which the initial discovery was reported. And it was designated as Koagulationsvitamin because of it coagulating function.


Bone development and bone metabolism require the presence of balanced amounts of Vitamin K and Vitamin D. Results of a 1998 observational study suggest that high Vitamin D intake coupled with low Vitamin K intake produces increased risk of hip fractures.

The RDA* of Vitamin K is 80 mg. One cup of raw beet tops provides 190% of this daily requirement.

So if you want to continue to have legs to stand on, eat your beet greens.


* RDA has been made obsolete by the USDA and so, as of March 2011, when I do mention it, it shall only be as a quaint matter of historical interest. RDA has been replaced by three other measures which are (a) unrelated to RDA and (b) meaningless for all practical purposes at this time. This will remain the case until such time as the new measures are sufficiently and comprehensively developed to the point of serving a meaningful purpose.

For a broad overview of one of the new, incomplete standard measures, check out Dietary Reference Intake .


Additional information on the health benefits of beets will be found by following the links below:

Nutritional value of beets - Part 7: Vitamin C

Beet greens


Beet greens - raw: Vitamin C
Measure: 38g (1 cup)
Calories: 8

Vitamin C
We have all heard so much about the health benefits gained by consuming Vitamin C that we tend to go deaf, dumb and blind when this nutrient is mentioned. What can I say? Listen up!

If you value beautiful skin, vitality, strong muscles, a healthy nervous and immune system, and the ability to heal rapidly from wounds, Vitamin C is what you want in abundance.

The RDA of Vitamin C is 60 mg on average. Just one cup of raw beet greens provides 11.4 mg, which is approximately 19% of your entire daily need.


* RDA has been made obsolete by the USDA and so, as of March 2011, when I do mention it, it shall only be as a quaint matter of historical interest. RDA has been replaced by three other measures which are (a) unrelated to RDA and (b) meaningless for all practical purposes at this time. This will remain the case until such time as the new measures are sufficiently and comprehensively developed to the point of serving a meaningful purpose.

For a broad overview of one of the new, incomplete standard measures, check out Dietary Reference Intake .



See the following posts for more information on the health benefits of beets:

Nutritional value of beets - Part 6: Vitamin A

Beet greens


Beet greens - raw: Vitamin A
Measure: 38g (1 cup)
Calories: 8

Vitamin A

A single cup of beet leaves provides approximately half the RDA of this vitamin for an adult person. How good is that?

The RDA of Vitamin A for an adult male is 5000 IU of Vitamin A daily; for an adult female, the RDA is 4000 IU.

So what are the Vitamin A health benefits gained by eating raw beet tops? 

Everyone wants to have beautiful skin. It is our largest organ and its appearance tells us and the rest of the world a great deal about us. When it is glowing healthfully, this indicates that our entire body is healthy. 

Skin disorders, such as acne and psoriasis, are often improved by consuming Vitamin A. Vitamin A is also essential for:
  • human reproduction 
  • the manufacture of adrenal and thyroid hormones and their activities,
  • maintaining healthy, properly functioning nerve cells
  • maintaining a healthy immune system
  • cell growth
  • healthy vision
Consuming Vitamin A in its nutrient-rich natural source is the best method to use because nutrients function in balance and coordination with other nutrients and trace elements present in whole food.

Carotene-B (also called beta-carotene), a phyto-nutrient found in abundance in all parts of the beet root plant, is transformed by your liver into Vitamin A. 

See the following posts for more information on the health benefits of beets: