Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Blood Red Beetroot



Botanical Name of Beetroot

Beta vulgaris is the name given to this blood red bulbing vegetable. Beetroot will provide bulging red bulbs and tasty leaves to compliment your diet. Beetroot and Swiss Chard belong to the same family.

Growing Beetroot

The seeds, much like Chard’s, are best planted directly in the place you want them to grow – in situ.
In five to eight days after planting them, you will see the little leaves of the beetroot appear from beneath the soil.
They will shoot upwards and after about two and a half months, you should see the bulb beginning to form.
You can push the soil up around the beetroot bulb, as this will allow it to become larger. This is called ridging.

Beetroot Companions and Antagonists

Beetroot has many companions and these include: Beans, Lettuce, Garlic, Onions, Kohlrabi and Cabbage.
Beetroot is not fond of growing near Mustard.

Beetroot nutritional value

Beetroots are a great anti-oxidant and are rich in fibre and micronutrients.
A high sugar and starch content is found in beetroot.
They contain Vitamin A and C, Iron and Potassium.
Beetroots help keep the body’s elasticity and regulate the blood pressure.
They are brilliant for keeping bowel movements regular.
This winter vegetable helps to detoxify the body, and work to clear the bladder, liver and kidneys, especially when mixed with carrot juice.
Beetroot helps to detoxify the body, but change the colour of the excrement. This can be disconcerting when unexpected.

Cooking with Beetroot

Harvest the beetroot when the root is firm and swollen.
It will usually be sticking out of the ground.
The bulbs can be scrubbed well till all the soil is removed.
Eat young beetroot leaves. A delicious beetroot - spinach can be made using beetroot leaves, young or mature. The leaves must be washed thoroughly and chopped then cooked. The beetroot bulbs can be boiled or used fresh.
Beetroot juice is a very healthy and cleansing drink.
When juicing beetroots, be sure not to overdose.
Start by using half a juiced beetroot per week.
Build up your consumption to one per week.

Beetroot can be pickled, by peeling it, slicing it thin, cooking it till tender. Allow it to cool and then add raw onion, water, vinegar and sugar to clean sterilised bottles.
When the beetroot is cooled after cooking, place it in bottles and add a third of a bottle of vinegar, one to two tablespoons of sugar, and fill to the top with water.
The clean bottles can be sealed and stored.
Always date the bottles, so you know which to use first.

A tasty salad can be made using the following method:

Beetroot Salad

Beetroot (2-3 large ones)
4 large Carrots
1 Pineapple peeled and diced

Grate the beetroot and carrots; add the pineapple and you have a tasty salad.
Simple and nutritious - serve with fresh bread.