With its beautifully vivid dark reddish-purple colour, beetroot has to be one of the most distinctive looking vegetables. Related to the sugar beet and also known simply as beet, it is naturally high in sugar and has an earthy, sweet flavour with a hint of smokiness and a velvety smooth texture when cooked. When buying, look for firm, unblemished small to medium-sized beetroot with crisp, fresh looking tops. Beetroot tops can also be eaten the crinkly green leaves have an attractive red stalk, cook and serve as for spring greens.
How to Use
Beetroot can be eaten raw or cooked. Tender baby beetroot is the best choice if the beetroot is to be served raw. Raw beetroot can be grated and included in salads. Cooked beetroot can also be included in salads, made into soups, such as the classic Eastern European Bortsch, included in mixed roast vegetable dishes or pickled in vinegar. Baked or boiled beetroot can be sliced and tossed in butter and parsley or dill and served as an accompanying vegetable. Mint, horseradish, fennel and caraway all go well with cooked or raw beetroot.
How to Prepare
Wash the beetroot thoroughly; taking care not to damage the skin or the colour and flavour will bleed out during cooking. Trim the root to about 2.5 cm from the end and trim off any tops. If serving raw beetroot, trim the roots and top off and peel using a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler.
How to Cook
Beetroot can be boiled or baked. To boil, place the whole prepared beetroot in a pan of cold, salted water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 1-3 hours until tender, depending on size. The beetroot is cooked when the skin slides off easily when rubbed. Remove the skin before serving. To bake, preheat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4, wrap the beetroot in foil and bake for 2-3 hours according to size. Remove the skin before serving.
How to Store
Keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.