What to Do with the Beet Water After Boiling Beets?
Beets are a delicious and nutritious vegetable that can be prepared in a variety of ways. One common method of cooking them is by boiling. This leaves many home cooks wondering what to do with the leftover beet water. While some may simply pour it down the drain, there are actually several uses for this nutritious liquid.
Before diving into what to do with beet water, it’s important to understand how to properly boil beets. Start by washing and trimming the beet greens, leaving about an inch of stem intact. Then place the beets in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until the beets are fork-tender. Drain the beets over a colander, reserving the cooking liquid, which is now known as beet water.
Boiling beets not only yields tender and flavorful vegetables, but it also creates a nutritious liquid that can be used in a variety of ways.
Nutritional Value of Beet Water
Beet water contains all the vitamins and minerals that are present in beets themselves, making it quite nutritious. According to Healthline, one cup of boiled beet contains:
- Calories: 59
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbs: 13 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Vitamin C: 11% of Daily Value (DV)
- Iron: 6% DV
- Magnesium: 6% DV
- Potassium: 9% DV
The nutritional value of beet water will vary depending on how long you boiled your beets and how much water evaporated during cooking. However, you can expect similar amounts of nutrients per cup.
It’s worth noting that beet water does contain sugar, as beets are a fairly sweet vegetable. One cup of boiled beets has around 9 grams of sugar, so if you’re watching your sugar intake, it’s important to keep this in mind.
Uses for Beet Water
There are many ways to use beet water – some culinary and some not. Here are a few examples:
Culinary uses for beet water:
- Soup base: Use beet water as a base for soup instead of broth or water. It adds a subtle sweetness and earthy flavor to the soup.
- Smoothies: Add some beet water to your favorite smoothie recipe for an extra kick of nutrients and beautiful pink color.
- Marinade: Use beet water as part of a marinade for meat or tofu. Its natural sweetness and acidity will help tenderize the protein while adding flavor.
- Sauces and dressings: Add some beet water to sauces and dressings to enhance the color and flavor. It pairs well with vinaigrettes and creamy bases like aioli.
Non-culinary uses for beet water:
While most people think of using leftover cooking liquid from vegetables in cooking applications, there are actually several non-culinary uses for beet water as well:
- Dyeing fabric or paper: Because of its rich red-pink hue, beet water can be used as a natural dye for fabrics or paper.
- Hair rinse: Mix equal parts beet juice with apple cider vinegar and apply it to your hair after shampooing. Rinse well to remove impurities and add shine.
- Plant fertilizer: Dilute boiled beet water with regular tap water (1:3 ratio) and use it as fertilizer on household plants. Its high mineral content will provide nourishment!
- Skin tonic: Dip a cotton pad in chilled (but not cold!) boiled beetroot juice and apply it to your face. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes before washing off. The juice is rich in vitamin C and iron which are excellent for the skin.
Drinking Beet Water
If you’re not sure what else to do with the beet water, you may be wondering if it’s safe to drink. The good news is that beet water is perfectly safe to consume. However, because of its sweetness and strong flavor, some may find it unappetizing on its own.
Health benefits of drinking beet water:
For those who can stomach the taste, there are actually several health benefits to drinking beet water. Here are a few examples:
- Boosts immunity: Beet water contains high amounts of vitamin C which can help boost your immune system.
- Lowers blood pressure: According to Medical News Today, beets contain nitrates that can help lower blood pressure.
- May improve endurance: Some studies suggest that drinking beet juice can improve athletic performance by increasing endurance levels.
It’s worth noting that some people may have trouble digesting beets or any other food containing high amounts of FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols). If this sounds like you, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional before consuming large amounts of beet water.
Risks of Consuming Beet Water
For most people, there are no significant risks associated with consuming small quantities of beet water. However there are potential health concerns related directly to overconsumption.
Risks associated with consuming beet water:
- Stains teeth: Beets have a deep color and will stain everything they come into contact with–including your teeth! If you drink too much beet water or eat too many beets overall, your teeth may turn pinkish red temporarily.
- May cause kidney stones: While rare, some individuals develop kidney stones from consuming too many beets or beet products. Those who have suffered from kidney stones in the past are advised to speak with their doctor before consuming large amounts of beet water.
- Can cause temporary digestive discomfort: Beets and beet water contain high amount of fiber, so some individuals may develop gas or stomach aches after consuming large quantities.
As with all things food-related, moderation is key when it comes to drinking beet water. It’s always best to check with your healthcare professional before adding large amounts of any new food or beverage to your diet.
Other Uses for Boiled Beets
The uses for boiled beets extend far beyond just eating them on their own. Here are a few ideas for how you can enjoy them:
Culinary uses for boiled beets:
- Roasting: Toss cooked beets in olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast them in the oven until crispy on the outside and tender inside.
- Salads: Slice cooked beets into wedges and use them as a topping for salads. They pair particularly well with arugula or goat cheese.
- Pickling: If you love pickled vegetables, add some sliced cooked beets to your next batch for vibrant color and earthy flavor.
- Beet burgers: Mix cooked and mashed beets into ground beef or turkey to make a colorful and flavorful burger patty.
Non-culinary uses for boiled beets:
- Face mask: Mash cooled boiled beetroots with plain yogurt, honey, and oatmeal to create an all-natural face mask that helps exfoliate dead skin cells while brightening the complexion.
- Natural dye: Use a mixture of juice extracted from boiled beetroots and vinegar as a color treatment (for yarn, fabrics).
How to Store Boiled Beets and Beet Water
If you’ve boiled more beets than you need at one sitting, you can store them in the fridge or freezer for later use to enjoy the numerous health benefits. Storing beet water is highly similar as storing boiled beets.
Proper storage techniques for boiled beets and beet water:
- Fridge: Store cooked beets in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store cooled beet water in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freezer: To freeze cooked beets, place them in an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. To freeze beet water, pour it into ice cube trays and use as needed. Keeps for 2-3 months.
When it comes to boiling beets and using leftover beet water, there are plenty of options beyond simply throwing it away. From using it as a soup base or marinade to drinking it for added nutrients, there are many creative ways to incorporate this nutritious liquid into your cooking and daily life. With these tips on how to store boiled beets and beet water properly, you can avoid waste while enjoying all the benefits that this tasty vegetable has to offer.