Beets. They’re often served at Thanksgiving Feasts, and often left behind where they’re served.
The typically (but not always) ruby red roots are a misunderstood and much maligned vegetable that have plenty of health benefits and fun facts that come along with them.
Here are 16 Weird and Wonderful facts about beets!
- Albert Einstein famously hated beets.
- Nightly scalp massages with cooled water left over from boiling beets can help treat dandruff.
- In 19th century Victorian England, women used beet juice to add a “red” shine to their hair.
- Ancient Greeks used beets to treat a wide range of ailments, such as headaches, toothaches, wounds, and skin problems. In fact, beets were so highly regarded that they were often used as an offering to the god Apollo.
- While the ancient Greeks used beets primarily as medicine, the ancient Romans were the first to cultivate them as food.
- Early American colonists used beets to create pink cake frosting.
- Many cultures believe that if a man and woman eat from the same beetroot, they will fall in love.
- Beet juice can indicate the acidity of a solution. If a solution turns pink when beet juice is added, it is an acid. If it turns yellow, the solution is alkaline.
- Beets have the highest sugar content of any vegetable.
- Historically, only the beet greens were eaten, not the roots. The roots were highly revered as medicine, not food.
- A type of beet known as the sugar beet is the source of around half of the world’s refined sugar. Sugar beets contain 20% sugar compared to 8% sugar in red beets.
- The ancestor of the cultivated beet is the wild sea beet, which grew in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Their leaves have been eaten since prehistoric times.
- The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC) recommended beets for binding wounds, cleansing the blood, and treating digestive problems.
- In Australia, pickled beets are often put on hamburgers.
- Betanin, which is derived from beetroots, is used to color tomato paste, sauces, candy, breakfast cereals, ice cream, jams, and jellies.
- The entire beet is edible, from the top of the greens to the bottom of the root.
Those weird canned beets will probably still find themselves on your family’s Thanksgiving Spread this year, but now you can give your family a stack of facts about them as you pass them by!
Have a happy holiday season!