Beetroot has been eaten since Roman times and by the mid-nineteenth Century it had become a very popular vegetable. Beetroot is usually boiled, baked, braised or pickled in vinegar. Red beetroot originated from Beta vulgaris, which is a native of Southern Europe. A red-fleshed round or cylindrical root, it can be used as a freshly cooked hot vegetable or eaten cold with salads. Beetroot is a good source of Vitamin C and folic acid.
Preparing and Using
When buying beetroot choose small ones if possible. To cook whole, first rinse under cold running water. Cut the stalks to about 2.5cm above the beetroot and don’t cut away the root or peel it.
To bake in the oven place in a dish with a tightfitting lid. Add 4–5 tbsp of water. Lay a double layer of foil over the dish before putting the lid on and bake in a low oven for 2–3 hours. It’s ready when it begins to wrinkle and the skin can be easily rubbed away.
Beetroot can be pickled, puréed or made into a relish or jam. Flavours and ingredients that go well with beetroot include soured cream, crème fraiche, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, apple, onion, dill and vinegar.