The recipe says to discard the water you boiled the beets in. But can’t you make use of it by drinking it instead?
“Let me ask you this: do you think I can drink the water I boiled fresh beets in?”
It’s a good question. It’s not the question you expect to get from your dentist while she’s working on the pulpitis that finally got to you this week, even if she knows you write about food for a living—context is everything, after all—but, hey, a good question nonetheless.
The short answer is yes, you can absolutely drink the water that’s been used to boil beet roots in. As long as you gave the beet roots a good rinse before putting them in the water in the first place, it will be safe to drink. Not only that, but it will probably contain a few vitamins that leached from the beets during cooking.1 Insel, P. M., Ross, D., et. al. (2016). Nutrition. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
In The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health, board-certified cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson leaves little room for doubt about what to do with beet water. He writes, “If you boil beets, drink the leftover water.”
According to an article about the health benefits of beet roots at health information and news website WebMD, beets are rich in folates, manganese, potassium, as well as vitamin C and vitamin D. Vitamin C is water-soluble,2 Fink, H. H., Mikesky, A. E., & Burgoon, L. A. (2011). Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition. Jones & Bartlett Learning., so you’ll also be drinking some vitamin C along those beet pigments in the water.
In case you’re wondering, you can also cook with beets water. Instead of juicing all of the beets or dumping them in that salad you read about, set aside a few of them, blend them in the cooking water, and add salt and black pepper—and boom, you’ve got yourself some beet soup!
I’ve got one food safety warning for you, though. Remember that beet root water is a perishable product. Handle it the way you’d handle a sauce, soup, or stew. Cool it quickly after you’re done boiling the beets, then refrigerate or drink it. Just don’t let it sit out at room temperature for more than 1-2 hours, or harmful bacteria may grow to dangerous levels inside it and make you sick.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about another question that’s racing through your head (yeah, my friends, when it comes to food, I can read minds): What about canned or jarred beets? Can you drink the liquid they came in?
Now, this one’s a little trickier to answer. When you boil the beets yourself, you know exactly what you’re putting into the pot: beets and water. When you buy them canned or jarred from the grocery store, that can or jar might have a few more things, and if that’s the case, you need to find out what they are.
Generally speaking, you can drink the liquid that comes from a can or jar of store-bought beets. But go over the ingredients list first and decide if you want everything that’s on it in your body—more often than not, that liquid isn’t just water. It’s also distilled white vinegar, sugar, salt, and/or a preservative or two.
Suppose you need to mind your sugar or salt intake. Take a look at the carbohydrate contents and the sodium contents per 100 grams and, if you don’t like what you see, think twice before chugging that liquid right up. I mean, if you’ve got to look after yourself, you might be better off throwing it away, right?
Thanks for reading this far! I hope you found this piece helpful, and take of yourself!You've voted for this post