Local Market Score : Golden Beets ( + End Of Summer Salad Recipe : Vegan, GF)
Its during a family camping trip last weekend in Gatineau that the seasonal transition struck me : the cooler early mornings and evenings, the subtle smell of nature slowly retreating and that magnificent golden hue you can perceive in the sky when the sun begins to set. Fall is fast approaching, bringing with it a different, more sustaining kind of harvest as well as a need to retreat inward to set intentions for new projects and goals, wether more practical or related to self-care and personal development.
In Ayurveda, we would say that we are at the end of the Pitta season as the days are still warm, sunny and relatively humid, and will enter Vata season as these begin to cool, shorten and the wind becomes more prevalent. However there is this "sweet spot" in between the seasons that we currently find ourselves in that feels somewhat appeasing and cozy - sort of like being in the eye of the storm.
Going back to the ''golden hue'' of the sky, this suddenly made me crave similarly coloured foods, as somewhat of an echo to my environment. Golden beets immediately came to mind, their flesh saturated with that kind of sunshine pigment. They also have a very ''grounding'' energy, holding most of its life sustaining nutrients at the root. You can read on for a little information on this wonderfully healing vegetable, from the western and ayurvedic perspective :
WESTERN NUTRITIONAL PROFILE:
- Like other foods in the orange/yellow spectrum of colour, they contain high levels of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, lycopene, flavonoids, and zeaxanthin.
- They have an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification effect due to disease-fighting phytonutrient called betalains. Specifically in golden beets, the type of betalain it contains is called betaxanthins.
- Due to the compound called glutathiones, they are great blood cleansers, ridding it of toxins, heavy metals and waste.
- They have alkaline properties which regulate blood pH and reduce inflammation in the body often caused by consumptions of processed foods, environmental and lifestyle factors.
- They contain high levels of fibre that lowers inflammation and restores regular bowel movements.
- Because they are rich in nitrate, they can contribute to reducing cholesterol, among other heart related health benefits.
AYURVEDIC NUTRITIONAL PROFILE:
- Beets, have a sweet rasa (taste) and therefore are pacifying for Vata.
- When cooked, beets can also be pacifying for Pitta as the starches are transformed into sweeter sugars that have a more cooling effect. They can cool the blood, nourish the liver, and improve eyesight and anemia, which are both common Pittic problem.
- They can provoke Kapha if consumed in excess, as sweet tends to aggravate this dosha further.
End Of Summer Salad Recipe
Total time: 40 minutes
Yields: 2 meal portions, 4 serving size portions
Kitchen equipment: medium pot with steam basket, small pot, salad bowl for serving
Rasa (taste) : All six tastes - what we (ayurvedically) aim for! : sweet, bitter, astringent, pungent, sour, salty.
Dosha: V: Good P: Good (cooked) K: May increase
4 small to medium golden beets and their leaves
I/2 cup amaranth (uncooked)
3-4 big leaves of swiss chard (any colour will do), grossly chopped
4-5 leaves of fresh basil, finely chopped
2 Tbs sunflower seeds
2 Tbs hemp seeds
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Edible flowers, optional
1/4 cup Tbs of extra-virgin superior quality olive oil
2 Tbs of fresh lemon juice
A pinch of Salt & Pepper, to taste
1~ Cut the stems and leaves off the beets. Wash gently to remove all dirt and residues and place them (without the leaves) in steamer basket in a single layer. Place basket over a pot filled with a few inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until tender (a knife should go through easily), for about 15-30 minutes.
2~ While the beets are steaming, pour 1 cup of water in a small pot. Bring to a boil, add in the amaranth and cook on medium-low heat until all water is absorbed, covered. When done, remove from heat and uncover. Set aside.
3~ Once the beets are done steaming, remove from steamer basket while keeping the water boiling and let cool for 10 minutes in a small bowl. Quickly place the the swiss chard and beet leaves in the basket and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from steamer and set aside.
4~ Peel off skin of beets (it should come off easily) and slice thinly.
5~ Prepare dressing by simply mixing olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
6~ In a large salad bowl, toss the cooked veggies and amaranth, 1 Tbs of sunflower seeds, 1 Tbs of hemp seeds, chopped basil, salt and pepper with the salad dressing. Sprinkle with remaining seeds and add edible flowers (if using the latter).
Enjoy by the light of a golden sunset! :)