Beetroot is in season at the moment and it tastes great. It has a sweet earthy taste and it is delicious cooked or grated raw over salads.
Beetroot has been appreciated through the ages – the ancient Romans drank beetroot juice as an aphrodisiac and the ancient Greeks offered beetroot on a silver platter to the god Apollo.
Some people find that eating beetroot may turn their urine red – this is known as beeturia and is perfectly harmless – though it can be a bit disconcerting!
Not all beetroots are round and purple – you can find cylindrical, golden, white or stripey beetroot.
It’s essential for good health to eat at least 9 portions of fruit and veg every day – and just 3 baby beets counts as 1 portion of veg.
Beetroot not only tastes delicious, it is packed full of nutrients:
- The leaves are high in iron which helps your blood carry oxygen throughout your body
- Beetroot is high in soluble fibre which has been shown to lower cholesterol
- Beetroot contains the mineral silica which is good for bone health
- Beetroot contains powerful antioxidants which protect your heart
Choosing and Storing
You can find beetroot already cooked and vacuum packed in your local supermarket. Vacuum packed beetroot is convenient, but buying fresh is more versatile and definitely tastier.
If you’re buying fresh beetroot look for veg that is firm, not wrinkled or damaged. If the leaves are still attached and are in good condition, gently snip them off 2 or 3 cm away from the beetroot bulb. Don’t throw them away – they’re delicious. The expensive ready washed salads you buy often contain beetroot leaves.
As well as using the leaves in salads, they taste great when gently steamed – similar to spinach. Wash and store the leaves wrapped in a clean tea towel in the salad tray of your fridge. The bulbs should be stored in a cool dark place.
Grow Your Own
Beetroot are easy to grow and can be sowed from mid April to July. They are a great seed for kids to plant as they’re quite large and easy to handle. If you’re limited on space beetroot can be successfully grown in containers and harvested when they are golf ball sized. Visit the Royal Horticultural Society’s website for clear instructions on growing beetroot.
Delicious Ways to Enjoy Beetroot
Be warned – beetroot juice does stain so be careful! Golf ball sized beetroots are delicious roasted – rub them with olive oil, place them in a roasting dish and bake at 180 C or gas mark 5 for an hour. Test them with a skewer to see if they’re done – they should be soft all the way through. Rub the skin off before serving.
Alternatively, boil fresh beetroot until they are tender – the skin should then fall off when you rub them under cold water. Once boiled, store in the fridge and add to pasta or rice salads. Larger beetroots may need to be boiled for a fair bit of time.
Other delicious ways to enjoy this super veg:
- Grate raw beetroot on to your salads – a colourful and healthy addition to your menu
- Try juicing them with carrots and apples for a super healthy drink
- Use the leaves finely chopped in omelettes or quiches
Next time you see some beetroot on sale remember to give it a go – put some purple on your family’s plate!
Has your family discovered the taste of beetroot, why not share your favourite recipes with us?