Bring On The Beetroot

For me, beetroot was more of a punishment growing up than the wonderful earthy reward that it is today.  All kids in the 80’s knew that beetroot was something that grew in jars far, far away. If you were posh your mum would buy the crinkle slices and it served no purpose other than to destroy your taste buds and colour everything it touched – including the rest of your food. Hands up if you remember purple chips!

Beetroot from the ground

Beautiful Beets!

Fast forward a few years and I can’t get enough; in fact, me and beet have built a solid friendship. I now know how to get the best out of it – and it makes me feel awesome inside and out.  Sweet, rich, juicy and packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamin c, it can help lower blood pressure, promote good sleep and lend itself to curing many a modern-age malaise. big earthy flavoured beetroot would be hacked away,

It used to be the reserve of late-autumn into early winter but with the recent surge of love for this glorious purple vegetable, the past decade has seen the beetroot growing season expand and you can now enjoy cooking with it throughout the summer.  Small golfball sized beets are now available everywhere and are so sweet and full of flavour they can also be served raw like a radish.  You can even eat the greens in a salad.

For larger sized beets, just wash thoroughly and bake on rock salt in a medium heated until tender. When you can peel the skin away with your thumb, it’s ready to eat.  Allow it to cool and then simply rub the skin off – use kitchen gloves to save your fingers going purple!  Eat it there and then while its still warm with a little olive oil or allow to cool before serving in a salad with roasted nuts and some salty cheese.

Any gardener will you tell you that beetroot is fantastically easy to grow at home and almost guarantees an excellent harvest.  In fact, if you’re anything like me you will have an abundance of the stuff!  Purple beetroot is still the most common variety, however, in more recent years you’ll have noticed a surge in various varieties and these are just as easy to grow.  Golden, striped and cylindra beets, each have their own flavour and create amazing colourful dishes when presented together.  Who said there was no vibrant colour on our plates in winter? (On that note, thanks to Gill Murray Photography for this fab pic!)

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TOP TIP: Use in soups and salads, throw into a pastry tart with some feta cheese or use as the main ingredient in a veggie risotto.  For the more adventurous though, why not try the little-known option that is beetroot jam?  With a slight sweet and sour flavour, this jam is fantastic with cheese or smothered on oatcakes and served with a dessert wine.  There are loads of recipes online but the simplest ones just use orange juice, brown sugar, a little vinegar and winter spices. Amazing!

Favourite Beetroot Recipes From Across The Web

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