You can't beat beetroot...
As we head in towards the heart of Autumn, the season of mellow fruitfulness, our thoughts turn to the wonderful seasonal ingredients that become available during these atmospheric months. One of our favourites, and one that will be making several appearances on our menus over the coming weeks, is the humble, wonderful beetroot, a superfood rich in taste, texture and plenty of health benefits. Beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant, and is also known as golden beet, table beet or red beet.
Usually the deep purple roots of beetroot are eaten boiled, roasted or raw, and either alone or combined with any salad vegetable. A large proportion of the commercial production is processed into boiled and sterilized beets or into pickled beetroot. In Eastern Europe, beet soup, such as Borscht, is a popular dish. In Indian cuisine, chopped, cooked, spiced beet is a common side dish. Yellow-colored beetroots are grown on a very small scale for home consumption.
The green, leafy portion of the beet is also edible. The young leaves can be added raw to salads, whilst the adult leaves are most commonly served boiled or steamed, in which case they have a taste and texture similar to spinach. Those greens selected should be from bulbs that are unmarked, instead of those with overly limp leaves or wrinkled skins, both of which are signs of dehydration. The domestication of beets can be traced to the emergence of an allele which enables biennial harvesting of leaves and taproot.
Beetroot can be: boiled or steamed, peeled and then eaten warm with or without butter as a delicacy; cooked, pickled, and then eaten cold as a condiment; or peeled, shredded raw, and then eaten as a salad. Pickled beets are a traditional food in many countries.
As we head in towards the heart of Autumn, the season of mellow fruitfulness, our thoughts turn to the wonderful