YOU NEED To KNOW ABOUT
Beetroot erfood - Sup t o o Beetr
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LEAVES ARE A BETTER SOURCE OF
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CONTENT BACKGROUND 7 - 8 HISTORY OF BEETS 9 - 10 20 ESSENTIAL FACTS 13 - 15 BEETROOT AS A SUPER FOOD 19 VITAMINS AND MINERALS 20 - 21 NUTRITIONAL VALUE 22 5 KEY HEALTH BENEFITS 24 - 25 WHAT MAKES BEETROOT PURPLE-RED COLOR ? 26 BEETROOT AND BLOOD PRESSURE 27 BEST OF BEETROOT PRODUCTS 28 GROWING & PRESERVING BEETS 31 - 39 RECIPIES 45 - 61 ACKNOWLEGMENTS 64
I’ve lived in big cities all my life, just like my mother. My parents never had a garden and an allotment isn’t really something they would have considered. To live in the city in Poland and have an allotment or grow vegetables is not really as common or popular as it is in England. There is a perception that if you want to grow vegetables then you might as well move to the country side and became a farmer - being rural is not cool in the metropolises of Poland. My first memory of any type of gardening is related to my granny Eugenia and great aunt Helen who lived in the countryside. My mother would send me during the summer holidays to stay with them for a few months. Both had fairly large gardens by their houses. I remember rows of carrots and strawberries at my granny’s house, these were my favourites. At my aunt’s house, it was beetroots and marrows. My aunt would use my holiday time very effectively: digging beets and peeling potatoes, lots of potatoes! I was once told of by my cousin that if I carried on peeling potatoes the way I was then there would be no potatoes to eat and that I was in need of training. But the beets where those that I hated the most - the blood red dye wouldn’t come off my hands for days. For a teenager, this was not my idea of fun! My auntie was an amazing cook. A beetroot soup called “Barszcz” with ravioli is still my favorite dish from those summer holidays alongside French style marrow (instead of French toast or eggy bread she used marrows).
As I grew up I started going on holidays with friends rather then peeling potatoes with my cousisns. I started university and still didnâ€™t grow anything until I moved to Monteplier in Bristol. One day my boyfriend decided to create a vegetable patch at the end of his garden. After much hard work and excavation, I remember we only successfully grew a single line of beetroot. He slowly introduced me to the joy of growing. 4 years later and we moved to the Wye valley and our veg garden consists of 7 large beds, a shed, a green house, fruit trees and fruit bushes. Within three months of growing, we had to arrange for the whole garden to be faced with 6 foot high mesh following multiple visits by a family of deer who stopped by our strawberry and mange tout patch every night for a free dinner!.
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BEETROOTʼs BEETROOT WAS OFFERED TO APOLLO IN HIS TEMPLE AT DELPHI WHERE IT WAS RECKONED TO BE WORTH ITS OWN WEIGHT IN SILVER!
THE ROMANS began to cultivate it in earnest, and early recipes included cooking it with honey and wine. Apicius, the renowned Roman gourmet, included beetroot in recipes for broths and even recommended making it into a salad with a dressing of mustard oil and vinegar in his book ‘The Art of Cooking’.
IN EARLY TIMES the medicinal properties of the root were more important than its eating qualities and it was used to treat a range of ailments including fevers, constipation, wounds and various tskin problems. At that time, the roots were long and thin like a carrot. The rounded root shape that we are familiar with today was not developed until the sixteenth century and became widely popular in Central and Eastern Europe 200 years later. Many classic beetroot dishes originated in this region including the famous beetroot soup, known as borscht.
IN VICTORIAN TIMES beetroot continued to grow in popularity, when its dramatic colour brightened up salads and soups. It was also used as a sweet ingredient in cakes and puddings. A wide range of varieties was available, including “Rouge Crapaudine” and “Mr Crosby’s Egyptian”. The plants were even used as decorative bedding
because of their attractive green leaves. At this time, beetroot was still mainly grown as a winter root vegetable. More recently smaller, more tender, â€˜babyâ€™ summer-grown beetroots have been developed.
AFTER WORLD WAR II pickled beetroot in jars was the most widely available form of the vegetable but the vinegars could be strong and harsh - enough to put many people off beetroot for life! Beetroots come in all shapes and sizes but the most common is round and deep red in colour. Other varieties are yellow, white, and even candy-striped (with red and white concentric circles). The humble beetroot is sweet, earthy and tender to eat and related to the turnip, swede and sugar beet.
BETA Cyanin in
Beetroot help can
All about Beetroot
1. HANGOVER CURE - Beta cyanin, the pigment that gives beetroot its colour, is an antioxidant so the humble beetroot could be the key to beating your hangover ! Beta cyanin speeds up detoxification in your liver, which enables your body to turn the alcohol into a less harmful substance that can be excreted quicker than normal.
2. NATURE’S VIAGRA - One of the earliest known benefits of beetroot is its use as an aphrodisiac during the Roman times. And it wasn’t all folklore as it has been found to contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones. 3. GETTING IN A JAM - The red pigment in beetroot is used to colour strawberry jam as well as to improve the colour of tomato paste, sauces and strawberry ice cream.
4. FOOD OF LOVE - The Lupanare, the official brothel of Pompeii, which still stands despite the best efforts of Vesuvius in 79AD, has its walls adorned with pictures of beetroots.
5. HEALING POWER - Hippocrates advocated the use of beet leaves as binding for wounds. 6. BEWARE GARLIC - Platina recommended taking beetroot with garlic to nullify the effects of ‘garlic-breath’.
7. THE COMMANDER’S CODE - Field Marshal Montgomery, an army commander in WWII, is reputed to have exhorted his troops to ‘take favours in the beetroot fields, a euphemism for visiting prostitutes.
8. LITMUS TEST - You can use beetroot juice to measure acidity. When added to an acidic solution it turns pink, but when it is added to an alkali it turns yellow.
9. POTENT LIKE HORSERADISH - The Oracle at Delphi claimed that beetroot was second only in mystical potency to horseradish, and that it was worth its weight in silver. 10. HEAD AND SHOULDERS - If you boil beetroots in water and then massage the water into your scalp each night, it works as an effective cure for dandruff.
11. WONDERS OF THE WORLD - Around 800 BC, an Assyrian text describes beets growing in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world.
12. TURNING HEADS - Since the 16th century, beet juice has been used as a natural red dye. The Victorians used beetroot to dye their hair.
13. BOTTOMS UP - Beetroot can be made into a wine that tastes similar to port. 14. BEETROOT BURGERS - In Australia, a true Oz-style burger must have a slice or two of beetroot. Even McDonalds and Burger King have had to toe the line and include it in their menus.
15. A DIET FOR CRICKETERS - The Beetroot Diet involves followers eating beetroot three times a day, alongside other vegetables and whole foods. The Warwickshire County Cricket Club adopted the Beetroot Diet in 2004 and won the county championship that season !
16. RECORD BREAKERS - The world’s heaviest beetroot weighed 23.4kg (51.48lb) and was grown by Ian Neale from Somerset in 200, fresh dung before cooking it.
17. MESSY BUSINESS - The Elizabethans prepared beetroot by wiping it with fresh dung before cooking it.
18. DARLING BUDS OF MAY - Catherine Zeta Jones is reported to have become addicted to beetroot after eating it while pregnant with her two children. 19. OUT OF THIS WORLD - In 1975, during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, cosmonauts from the USSR’s Soyuz 19 welcomed the Apollo 18 astronauts by preparing a banquet of “Barszcz” (beetroot soup) in zero gravity.
20. SUGAR RUSH - Beetroot has one of the highest sugar contents of any vegetable. Up to 10 per cent of beetroot is sugar, but it is released slowly into the body rather than the sudden rush that results from eating chocolate.
MY GREEN HOUSE IN WYE VALLEY 2011
BEETROOT AS A SUPERFOOD BETROOT HAS HAD A GREAT PR JOB OVER RECENT YEARS, BEING HAILED AS A SUPER FOOD BY NUMEROUS EXPERTS DUE TO ITS NITRATE CONTENT
The nitrate content of beetroot juice helps lower blood pressure, research has shown. A study in the US journal Hypertension found that blood pressure was reduced within 24 hours in people who drank beetroot juice or took nitrate tablets. This research suggests there is hope of using a more “natural” approach to bring down blood pressure. Nitrates are found in a number of vegetables.
CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES - Class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels kills over 110,000 people in England every year. More than 25% of the world’s adult population is hypertensive, and it has been estimated that this figure will increase to 30% by 2025. Eating vegetables is known to be good for our cardiovascular health. But researchers say green, leafy vegetables like lettuce and beetroot are best at reducing the risk of strokes and heart attacks because of their high inorganic content, which comes from nitrates in the soil. The study also found that men and women reacted differently to beetroot juice. The decrease in blood pressure after taking beetroot juice was much more pronounced in men. Researchers say this could be because women are better at naturally processing nitrate in their bodies.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE THAT THE NEGLECTED BEETROOT IS FULL OF VITAMINS AND MINERALS THAT COULD DO YOUR BODY A WORLD OF GOOD.
ZINC Zinc is one of the most important trace elements because of its part in so many essential processes in the body. For one, zinc plays an indispensable role in proper embryo progress. It stimulates growth and the formation of bones, mouth, brains, eyes and lungs. Apart from that, it also supports the formation of antibodies, boost intellectual ability and many more. A deficiency in zinc will lead to mental disease such as, excessive hair loss and skin problems, depression and apathy and will experience a slow healing in wounds. With beets around, you can avoid all these health problems the cheap way!
POTASSIUM Beetroots are also a great source of potassium – just a cup f beet has 518.50 mg of potassium. Potassium, also found in fruits such as avocados and bananas, is essential for the kidneys to normally function. Without enough potassium in the body, muscles would weaken and wouldn’t be able to contract properly.
IRON, CALCIUM, VITAMINS A AND C These four vitamins – iron, calcium, vitamins A and C, are found in larger amounts in beet greens than in beet roots. In fact, its leaves have a higher iron-content compared to spinach. Iron, an essential mineral that aids in the function of almost all body parts, is found in abundance in beet greens. Just a cup of beet will provide you with 1.34 mg of iron. Making beets a part of your diet will help cure anemia or iron deficiency. Ingestion of beet juice would also increase the blood count of those who lost blood because of accidents and menstruation.
MAGNESIUM AND PHOSPORUS We need approximately 12 to 20 mg of manganese to aid proper bone development and the absorption of other vitamins like Vitamins C and B1. A cup of beet can provide 0.55 mg manganese. Magnesium helps boost the immune system and promotes the proper function of our muscles and nerves. It reduces the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases. If you want your body to develop and repair connective tissues and cells, form strong bones and teeth and maintain a normal pH balance, you should remember to take beets so you’d have enough phosphorus in your body. A cup of beetroot should provide 64.60mg of your phosphorus needs. Indeed, beets deserve to be called a super food because it’s so packed with so many nutrients, vitamins and minerals, it would hard to list them all. They aren’t just nutritious, they are also tasty and versatile you can prepare roots in many ways: you can bake it, steamed or boiled it, can be grated to add to salads or be used as a vegetable smoothie.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE COOKED BEETROOT NUTRITIONAL VALUE PER 100 G (3.5 OZ)
180 kJ (43 kcal)
VITAMIN A EQUIV
2 ug (0%)
THIAMINE (VIT. B1)
0.31 mg (3%)
NIACIN (VIT. B3)
0.331 mg (2%)
PANTOTHENIC ACID (B5)
0.067 mg (5%)
FOLATE (VIT. B9)
80 ug (20%)
3.6 mg (4%)
16 mg (2%)
79 mg (6%)
23 mg (6%)
38 mg (5%)
305 mg (6%)
77 mg (5%)
0.35 mg (4%)
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A L L A BO U T B E E T RO O T
BEETROOT JUICE CAN PREVENT STROKES & HEART ATTACKS
BEETROOT IS PACKED WITH NUTRIENTS
Beetroot juice has been shown to reduce high blood pressure. It affects an estimated 25% of the world’s adult population and is a significant factor in coronary heart disease and strokes.
Beetroot leaves can be eaten raw when young. Beetroot is a super-storehouse of both vitamin C and iron, which is great news for your body. Both are essential elements for health, but many of us struggle to absorb enough iron.
Researchers at Barts’ Hospital (London) and the London School Of Medicine found that drinking 500ml of beetroot juice a day can significantly reduce high blood pressure, for over 24 hours after drinking.
Vitamin C is water soluble, which means it leaches out of veggies when you cook them in water. So the easiest way to get your combo-fix is to eat raw beetroot.
Whilst most of us wouldn’t fancy a pint of red stuff every morning, the research gives us a very big hint that including at least some beetroot in our diet on a daily basis will be good for us.
Incidentally, young beetroot leaves are a better source of iron than spinach! The roots are a good source of many other vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, phosphorous, magnesium and B6.
BEETROOT IS YOUR LIVER’S FRIEND
IMMUNE SYSTEM BOOSTER
BEETROOT CAN CHEER YOU UP
The beta cyanin in beetroot can help detox your liver, having a knock-on effect for your bloodstream, by helping the body to eliminate toxins and potentially preventing the build-up of fatty deposits.
Beetroot’s amazing range of vitamins and nutrients have been shown to boost your immune system, helping you better fight off infection.
Beetroot has been shown to contain the compound betaine, which enhances the production of the body’s natural mood-lifter seratonin.
These nutrients help stimulate the reoxygenation of cells and the production of new blood cells.
So it would seem that munching fresh beetroot can literally make you smile. Betaine is also really useful for cardiovascular health.
So if you have found yourself ‘over-indulging’, adding some raw beetroot or beetroot juice to your diet can help you recover.
WHAT MAKES BEETROOT PURPLE-RED COLOR ? BEETROOTS ARE NOT JUST DELICIOUS, THEY ARE ALSO VERY ATTRACTIVE BUT WHAT MAKES IS BRIGHT RED COLOR ?
The color of beets can be accounted to betalains, a collective name for the pigment found contained in the cell vacuoles of beetroots. Other varieties of beets have betacyanin which makes it purple, or betaxanthin which makes it yellow. A greater or lesser distribution of any of these pigments would make the color of the roots and stalks orange-red like that of the Burpee Golden variety, or yellow-white like the Albina Vereduna cultivar. Take note that the pigments found in beets are not the same as that found in red cabbage, which is called anthocyanin. Beets, garden beets, red beets or whatever other name it is called, can bring life, flavor, jazz and color to almost any type of dish. But aside from being consumed, beets are also used in other ways. The bright colors of this gorgeous root are also used as a dye in all sorts of food products such as ice cream, breakfast cereals, tomato paste, jelly, and as coloring to pickled Pennsylvania Dutchâ€™s hard-boiled eggs.
BEETROOT AND BLOOD PRESSURE JUST HALF A LITER OF BEETROOT JUICE CAN DRAMATICALLY LOWER YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
This effect is associated to the nitrate - content of beetroot. According to researchers in London, foods rich in nitrate like beetroots are converted to nitrite when mixed along with the bacteria in the mouth and tongue. When it reaches the acidic environment of the stomach, another chemical reaction occurs. The nitrate in the saliva would be converted to nitric oxide and will then enter the circulation again as nitrite. This process resulted to the dilation of the blood vessels, thus decreasing blood pressure by increasing the blood flow. The reduction in blood pressure happened at the same time the levels of nitrite in the saliva are at its highest. Aside from significantly decreasing blood pressure, bioactive nitrites also inhibit platelet aggregation and endothelial dysfunction. Itâ€™s a natural and low-cost way of treating cardiovascular disease. The researchers claim that all these findings taken together suggest that the ingestion of dietary nitrate underlies the beneficial effects of a vegetable-rich diet, by the conversion of nitrate to nitrite. In the research, although the beginnings of the drop in blood pressure happened an hour after ingestion, its peak occurred three to four hours after the beet has been swallowed. However, it didnâ€™t stop there. It went on dropping even for 24 more hours.
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BIOCARE BEETROOT EXTRACT SUPPLEMENTS Contains all of beetroot’s nutrients in concentrated form to help support the liver, spleen, gall bladder and kidneys. £10.42 for 90 capsules www.biocare.co.uk
HEARTBEET ORGANIC JUICE Get a higher concentration of nutrients without having to eat pounds of solid beetroot with a daily dose of this juice. £1.49 for 250ml www.hollandandbarrett.com
HEAVEN LIMITED EDITION BEETROOT FACE CLEANSER Range founder and A-list facialist, Deborah Mitchell, says beetroot’s detoxifying and antiinflammatory properties will soothe irritation and detoxify congested skin. It also has anti-ageing qualities £24.47
LEAVES ARE A BETTER SOURCE OF
an spinach 31
GROWING BEETS BEETROOT HAS A WIDE VARIETY OF USES IN THE KITCHEN WHICH MEANS THAT YOU ARE UNLIKELY TO WASTE ANY OF THE CROP
I have found beetroot one of the easiest things I have grown. Like many others this is another plant that we are told to sow after the risk of the last frost has gone. But you can also be grow it in a window box all year round. Simply bring your window box inside when there is a chance of frost. I would suggest buying a smaller variety of beetroot if you plan to grow them in a container Baby beetroot pronto is a good one to try. If you are growing outside then for the first time, I would suggest getting a ‘boltardy’ variety simply because they are easier to grow. It is often suggested that the ‘seeds’ should be sown thinly, I disagree and sow the seeds close together. I enjoy eating beetroot leaves in salads and the young shoots are deliciously sweet.
BEETROOT VARIETIES THERE ARE OVER 50 BEETROOT VARIETIES - SO I SPLIT THEM INTO FIVE MAIN TYPES
TRADITIONAL ROUND RED
‘Pablo’ - wonderful globe shape. Still in
‘Cheltenham Green Top’ – best grown in
excellent condition when cricket ball size. Of course can be used much smaller. Has very few internal rings. ‘Pronto’ - excellent for baby beet production. Matures to a small size baby beet in eight weeks. I tend to sow thickly and constantly pull to use over a long period. ‘Boltardy’ - good resistance to bolting, very reliable.
deep soil as the roots can be up to two feet long. When grown for exhibition this long rooted variety is grown in bore holes filled with a compost mixture.
HALF-LONG AND CYLINDRICAL ‘Forona’ and ‘Cylindra’ – half-long stump rooted. Easier to slice than normal varieties and very good flavour.
BEETROOT FOR SALAD LEAVES
‘Burpees Golden’ – excellent variety, very sweet, does not bleed when cooked. ‘White Ice’ – it is good to try new varieties. This was new to me last year when we used it as a warm veg with butter. I will certainly grow again this year. Barbabietola Di Chioggia’ – Old Italian variety. When cut it has distinctive white rings, It has a mild flavour and is easy to cook.
‘Bulls Blood’ – Now widely used in the production of baby salad leaf. The leaves taste sweet and the dark red leaves are very attractive.
PREPARING THE SOIL FOR BEETROOT PLANTING Beets can tolerate pretty much any type of soil but especially prefer loose, sandy soil. They do not like acidic soils. Forcing the beets to grow in that soil type may lead to nutrient deficiency. The acidity of the soil should be about 6.5 to 7pH. If you do not have that type of soil in your garden, donâ€™t lose hope. You can still do something to make it ideal for beetroot growing. Ideally choose an area that has been previously planted with beans or celery. The beets will imitate the nutrients and pH level of the previous plants to produce. Clear the area of all weeds and stones as these may hamper the growth of the beets roots. Dig stones that are within three feet deep and throw them out. Once you are done rake the soil with well-rotted manure or compost. Spread the compost about two to three centimeters deep. This would provide nutrients for the plant during their growth. While the beets are growing, you can supplement their development by putting some blood, fish and bone plus calcified seaweed at three ounces per square yard.
HARVESTING BEETROOT Depending on variety, beetroot is ready to be picked when the roots are between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball, this is usually 90 days after sowing. To harvest gently hold the tops and lift while levering under the root with a hand fork. Remove the tops by twisting them off with your hands to prevent the plants bleeding their juice - donâ€™t throw these away, they have bags of taste and can be cooked and eaten like spinach.
of Cooked Beetroot
PROVIDES YOU WITH THE SAME HEALTH
BENEFITS As drinking 500ml Of
ORANGE Juice 36
HOW TO STORE FRESHLY-PICKED BEETROOTS 1 Never store damaged roots. You might feel a pang of regret if you throw them away, but dumping it in the trash bin is better than allowing the rot to set in and damage other healthy beets. Slice off the greens close to the crown of the root, but do not cut any part of the root. Make sure to leave a few inches of stalks. Do not wash the beets. Or if you do, make sure they are completely dry before storing them.
2 Place the beets in crates or banana boxes separated by peat or sand. You any damp packing material to separate them. Put them away in a cool, dark location. Ideally, the temperature where you will store your beetroots should be between 0° to 4°C – certainly lower than the temperature for storing potatoes.
3 If you do not have a refrigerated storage facility, you may opt to place the beetroots in the coolest area in your home. Make sure it is free from moisture and sheltered from rain or snow. It should last for three to four months. If you want to keep a few beets in your refrigerator, place them first in a paper bag before putting them away. They should keep for a couple of weeks. Frozen beets will keep for about eight months.
GROWING BEETROOT STRAIGHT INTO YOUR GARDEN
TO GROW IN POTS
Make a 2cm (0.75in) deep trench with the corner of a rake (or a cane will do) and drop in two seeds every 10cm (4in).
If you have a small garden, beetroot are easy to grow in pots, (ideal for round varieties, not long cylindrical ones), choose containers that are 20cm (8in) in diameter and at least 20cm (8in) deep.
Cover, water well and label - when the seedlings are about 2cm (0.75in) high, remove the weakest of each pair to leave one beetroot seedling every 10cm (4in). If you want a plentiful supply of beetroot, sow seeds every month, keeping rows 20cm (8in) apart.
Fill loosely with multi-purpose compost leaving the compost just shy of the top. Tap the pot gently to settle, and firm with your finger tips aiming to leave a 4cm (1.5in) gap between the surface of the compost and the top of the pot. Sow seeds thinly across the surface and cover with 2cm (0.75in) of compost.
3 They can be constantly thinned, as you need them, throughout the growing period.
3 Water and thin out seedlings when theyâ€™re about 2cm (0.75in) tall, leaving 12cm (5in) gaps between them.
PROBLEMS With you plants
BEETROOTS ARE ALSO RELATIVELY FREE FROM THE ATTACKS OF PESTS AND DISEASES HOWEVER, IT DOESN’T MEAN THEY ARE COMPLETELY INVINCIBLE
CERCOSPORA LEAF SPOT It is the most common disease that affects beetroots, but it’s also easily recognizable. Beetroot plants affected by this disease have a conspicuous spotting. Root-knot nematodes bring about swellings in the roots, stunting the plant’s growth and deforming the shape of the roots. Warm and wet condition is favorable to this disease. In order to avoid it, it’s best to rotate crops, allowing two to three years between beetroot planting. However, if you have beetroot plants that are now suffering from this disease, the best way to manage it is to use registered fungicides.
MANGOLD FLIES (BEET LEAF MINER) When you see the leaves of your beetroot plant develop light brown blisters, then it must be suffering from Mangold Flies. The worst that can happen is you will see red or brownish spots appear on the underside of the leaves. Then, it will turn brown completely and fall off.
BEETROOT WEBWORM Young beetroots are susceptible to this pest. They can cause considerable damage to immature leaves, feeding on under leaves and around the crown which may result in complete defoliation. To manage this pest, make sure to find out the source of the alternate host and apply insecticides.
WEEDS Weeds can compete for water and nutrients from beetroot plants. In effect, this can stunt your plantâ€™s growth and productivity. As your plant grows and its leaves widen, the soil becomes shaded inadvertently giving control to weeds to germinate. Carefully remove all weeds. Weed control has to be confined to the surface, and since beetroots have a shallow root system, getting rid of weeds can be a little tricky. Use knife attachments or rolling cultivators to effectively get rid of weeds. You may also use registered herbicides to keep weeds away.
APHIDS (FLIES) Aphids are sap-sucking pests that destroy the base of the leaves. In the long run, it makes the leaves of beetroots plants curl and distort new foliage. Consequently, it makes the beetroot plants less productive. Aphids are minor pests and can easily be contained. Remove the affected parts of the leaf to keep it from spreading. Dilute insecticide and treat the plant lightly with it.
MY VEG GARDEN IN WYE VALLEY 2011
RECIPES All about beetroot
TEN YEARS AGO, BEETROOT WAS ALMOST A GONER !
Ten years ago, beetroot was almost a goner. Available then only in pickles or occasionally in vacuum packs of four cooked and preserved globes, it is firmly in the spotlight now. It is almost impossible to find a menu that doesn’t acknowledge its newfound popularity. At Bibendum it comes with cured herrings and warm potato salad, St John serves it with boiled egg and anchovies, and at River Cottage delis you find it in a sandwich with goat’s cheese and thyme. Vivid pink gratins are splattered over the tablecloths of many a restaurant and café from one end of the country to the other. Beetroot’s unrepentantly earthy flavours need something bright and acidic to bring harmony and balance to a recipe. And that is what it usually gets, in the form of vinegar and pickling spice, sour-cream dressings, yogurt and goat’s cheeses. In many ways, goat’s cheese – something young, sharp and fresh, such as Ticklemore, Dorstone, Sleightlett or Childwickbury if you are at a specialist cheese stall; any soft, young goat’s cheese if you’re not – is a perfect partner for the sweet notes of beetroot. That pleasing hit of sourness is just what you need. Balance is nigh on inan essential in any dish, but particularly when one of the ingredients is particularly sweet, which is why so many recipes for the more sugary roots such as carrots, beets and parsnips contain something lemony, vinegary or lactic. It’s a simple enough strategy, but one that might continue beetroot’s rise to lasting acceptance.
A little beetroot goes a long way. I like to bake them whole, in a roasting tin under a sheet of foil, then slip off their skins, slice and dress them, still warm, with a fruit vinegar – raspberry is good. If the leaves are still bright and bushy then I will steam them, stems and all, chop them a little, and dress with olive oil, lemon and a showering of chopped dill. I took the dill route this time with a mustard-seed dressing for a batch of beetroot fritters. This root likes oily fish – pickled, it is splendid with grilled mackerel – and so I teamed my little fritters up with a few slices of shop-bought gravlax, the salmon cured with salt and dill.
OUR FAVORITE RECIPES BEETROOT WINE 48 - 49 By David Moore
THE BEST ROASTED BEETROOT 48 - 49 By Sarah Moore
HOW TO COOK PERFECT BORSCHT 50 - 54 By Felicity Cloake
BEETRROT JUICE’S 55 By Violetta Wyszynska
BEETROOT BREAD 56 - 57 By Mim Van der Waal
RADISH & BEETROOT CHUTNEY 58 BEETROOT & VANILLA CUP CAKES 59 - 60 AMERICAN STYLE BEETROOT PIE 61
BEETROOT WINE-MAKING TIPS by David Moore
IF YOU WANT TO SUCCESSFULLY MAKE YOUR OWN VERSION OF BEETROOT WINE, JUST FOLLOW MY TIPS.
1 2 3 4
To create a more full-bodied wine, use not-so-young beetroots. You may use young beets, but make sure you age them for a year or two before taste-testing. Also make sure to follow the recipe precisely.
Use dark bottles when ageing your wine. Shaded bottles will prevent the wine from exposure to sunlight and bleaching out its wonderful red purple color.
The wine will taste better if you slice and boil the beets with the skin on. Choose beetroots that have a consistent and even color all throughout, because the color of the root will be the exact same color of the wine you will be creating.
If you want the yeast to successfully convert sugar into alcohol, make absolutely certain that the bottle you are using is airtight. Use only high-quality yeast, because the alcohol content and the “fizzy” effect will depend on the quality of the yeast you used. Also make sure you do not completely fill your fermentation bottle – allow some room.
A Traditional English Beetroot Wine Recipe
MAKES 1 BOTTLE PREPARATION TIME 1 H 20 MIN PLUS 10 DAYS FOR STANDING
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
iced Beetroot Sp
5 pounds of beetroots 3 and ½ pounds of Demerara sugar A slice of toast 1 and ½ gallons of water ½ teaspoon of ginger ½ ounce of yeast
WHAT TO DO Wash the beetroots thoroughly before slicing them and putting them in a pot, pour the water and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, lower the heat and simmer it for about an hour. After that, put in the sugar and let it simmer again for an additional 20 minutes. Then, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool. Put the ginger and yeast on the slice of toast and put it on top of the beetroot mixture. Let it stand for at least 10 days. Next, strain the liquid using a cheese cloth and pour the wine in an airtight bottle. Serve and enjoy!
THE BEST ROASTED BEETROOT by Sarah Moore
I remember my dad heads to the local farmers market and, if the season is right, comes home with a big bunch of beets, which he then scrubs clean, boils, quarters, and marinates in oil and vinegar. So by the time me and my brothers show up in the morning we have a bowlful of beets for breakfast or lunch. That said, over the years I can’t count the number of people who have tried to get me to roast beets instead of boiling them. They’ve insisted that roasted beets just taste better than boiled. I have roasted beets. Quite frankly, I haven’t been able to tell that big of a difference from boiled. Until now. Now I get it. These beets are great. The long roasting caramelizes the sugars in the beets adding all sorts of awesome flavor. The trick? Make sure the beets are wrapped in foil so they don’t dry out, and then forget to set the oven timer so you cook them 20 to 30 minutes longer than you think you should. By the time I took these beets out of the oven, they had roasted for an hour 45 minutes. There was so much caramelization the peels were like candy. They were a little harder to peel, but wow, so worth it. The orange zest and balsamic glaze? Double wow. Watch out though hese beets are addictive.They will last for several days in the fridge.
ROASTED BEETROOT WITH BALSAMIC GLAZE
SERVES 4 - 6 PREPARATION TIME 15 MINS COOKING TIME 1H, 15 MINS
WHAT YOUâ€™LL NEED 2 pounds red beets, medium sized, scrubbed clean, green tops removed (see beet greens recipe for what to do with beet greens) Olive oil Salt 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 2 teaspoons sugar 1 teaspoon grated orange zest Freshly ground black pepper
WHAT TO DO Chop the beetroot into small dice, set aside in a medium bowl. In a food processor blitz the butterbeans with the garlic, chives and olive oil. Season to taste with sea salt & freshly ground black pepper. Transfer into the bowl with the beetroot and gently fold through to mix. Spoon into a serving bowl, drizzle with a little extra olive oil and garnish with a few snipped chives. Serve as a dip with pitta crisps, or part of a salad lunch spread.
HOW TO COOK PERFECT BORSCHT by Felicity Cloake
Beetroot soup is seen by many as “the pride of old Polish cooking” as Maria Lemnis, author of a work on traditional Polish cooking refers to it. The Old Warsaw Cookbook, meanwhile, stoutly asserts it is impossible to imagine a Pole welcoming a guest with anything but barszcz – which should give the aspiring traveller pause for thought.
SIMPLE Even amongst themselves, these writers disagree as to what constitutes a barszc: it’s generally acknowledged that there are as many different types as there are Poles in the diaspora, but according to Lemnis, there are two principal varieties, one vegetarian version for the Christmas Eve feast, and one made with meat stock for Easter. Both, however, are made with what she calls “naturally soured beet juice”, a kind of kvas, or fermented liquor, which fits with the Polish (and Russian) taste for sweet and sour flavours identified by Lesley Chamberlain. This isn’t something I can lay my hands on, even after a tour of the many Polski Skleps in my neighbourhood, so thank goodness the process is, apparently “very simple”. All you have to do is peel and thinly slice your beetroot, then cover them with lukewarm water, pop a slice of rye bread on top and leave somewhere warm for the best part of a week. (I’d add to that, warn your flatmate before going out for the evening.) After four days on top of the water heater, my bowl of beets has developed a satisfying amount of foam, and a reassuringly unpleasant smell. After scooping the soggy bread out, I season the soup with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar, and then ladle some of the malodorous water into a bowl. Maria reckons it’s “sour and tasty”. I’m surprised it’s not worse, but it would require some confidence in one’s ability to carry off peasant chic to serve this up to guests.
A QUESTION OF STOCK Most recipes I find call for beef stock – Lesley Chamberlain’s makes use of the water one cooks the soup’s beans in, fish stock would be used instead, to honour the customary fast. The Old Warsaw Cookbook, however, mentions a Lenten borscht based on a homemade vegetable stock, flavoured with dried mushrooms, it’s a nice alternative – simply substitute a simple vegetable stock, made with dried mushrooms, for the same amount of beef stock in the recipe below.
VEGETABLES As we’ve seen, borscht recipes range from very simple beetroot broths to elaborate preparations involving beans, potatoes and all sorts. I prefer the recipes which use potato to give the soup body; it seems to soak up the flavour better than Lesley Chamberlain’s white beans. I also approve of Lindsay’s use of cabbage, which not only gives the soup a bit of colour, but, to my mind, adds an air of Eastern Bloc authenticity to proceedings. Sweet, earthy parsnips, as suggested in some recipes, are too much with the beetroot, and one has to be careful not to overload the dish with carrots for the same reason, using leeks and celery makes for a more interesting bowl of soup.
FLAVOURINGS The six cloves of garlic that go into Lindsay Bareham’s soup are a very welcome addition, as far as I’m concerned – because they’re tossed into the pan raw, they add the kind of fiery heat which I associate with other typically Eastern European favourites, like vodka and horseradish. Maria Lemnis suggests black peppercorns, allspice and a bay leaf; a mixture of hot and sweet flavours which also seems appropriate; beetroot has such an assertive flavour that it will take over the entire meal given half a chance, which I think would be a shame. Borscht should be a hearty, yet sophisticated dish: a bowlful of sweet, sour and savoury flavours, rather than simply a vehicle for beetroot. It takes a bit of work – but with a dollop of rich sour cream, and a sprig of aromatic dill, it’s one of the world’s great soups. Serve with thick sour cream, sweet dill, and mushroom dumplings or hunks of black bread.
FAKE KWAS The other option, of course, is to fake it. Catherine Atkinson suggests in her survey of Polish and Russian cooking, From Borsch to Blinis, that a respectable alternative can be made by bringing a pan of grated beetroot, stock and lemon juice to the boil, allowing it to sit for half an hour, and then straining. The resulting liquid has a less complex flavour than the real thing, but does the job of adding tang to Catherine’s soup, and at considerably less cost to one’s airing cupboard.
NO KWAS Lesley Chamberlain gives a “modern Polish” recipe from Lwów, “attributed to what is now western Russia” – she loses me when she qualifies this by adding “in fact, therefore, it is Ukrainian” Confusing as this may be, what’s interesting is that, instead of the sour beetroot, she uses a mixture of sour cream and flour, added at the end of cooking time to thicken the soup. I’m not keen on the raw flour flavour, and the creaminess of the finished soup is at odds with my idea of borsch, however authentic it might be if you happen to find yourself in Lwów / Lviv / Russia.
VINEGAR To be fair, Lesley does suggest using the juice from pickled beetroot to improve the colour of the soup, which has the virtue of imparting a certain piquancy, but goes against Maria Lemnis’ stern prohibition on the use of vinegar in borscht. Lindsay Bareham also throws tradition to the winds in the recipe she gives in her book, A Celebration of Soup – but then she also claims that borscht is “originally from the Ukraine,” so her deployment of wine vinegar may be the least of Polish readers’ worries. I actually find I prefer the more assertive, yeasty tartness of vinegar.
SERVES 4 AS A STARTER PREPARATION TIME 30 MINUTES COOKING TIME 1H
WHAT YOUâ€™LL NEED 4 beets, washed, or 2 cups sliced canned or jarred beets 4 cups meat or vegetable stock 1 minced clove garlic 1 teaspoon sugar 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar Salt and black pepper Chopped fresh dill for garnish
WHAT TO DO Take one beetroot and slice it into thin rounds. Put the salmon on a plate (arrange the slices so that they are evenly overlapping). Grind over a little pepper and lay the beetroot over the top. Cover tightly with cling film and put a second plate on top to weigh it down. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours (at least 4 hours). Cut the rest of the beetroot in half, then slice into half circles about as thick as a pound coin. Slice the chives finely on the diagonal. Break the walnuts into three or four pieces each. Mix the sliced beetroot halves, chives, walnuts, walnut oil and sherry vinegar. Season well with salt flakes and pepper. (Up to this point can be prepared 6 hours ahead).
BEETROOT, PINK LADY & GRAPEFRUIT JUICE
There’s no need to core or peel the apples – the juicer does it all for you!
SERVES 2 GLASSES WHAT YOU’LL NEED 1 pack of vacuum packed cooked beetroot 2 Pink lady apples 1 peeled grapefruit
WHAT TO DO Put through a juicer. Pour in to glasses and serve.
BEETROOT, POMEGRANATE & ORANGE JUICE
SERVES 2 GLASSES WHAT YOU’LL NEED 100ml pomegranate juice 100ml orange juice 1 cooked beetroot
WHAT TO DO Whizz all the ingredients in a liquidiser until smooth. Serve immediately poured over ice.
by Mim Van Der Waal
SERVES 4 TO 6 PREPARATION TIME 2 HOURS 25 MINUTES COOKING TIME 30-45 MINUTES
WHAT YOUâ€™LL NEED 2/3 cup lukewarm water 1 cup grated raw beetroot 3 1/4 cups white bread flour 1 tablespoon soft butter 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon easy-blend dried yeast
WHAT TO DO To make the beet puree -- peel 2 large beets or 3 medium beets (discarding or reserving 1/2 of one of the 3 beets, so you have 2 1/2 beets), and chop into 1/4-inch pieces. Puree in a food processor with 1/2 cup milk until mixture is smooth and free of lumps. In a small bowl, combine yeast, sugar and water. Let rest 5 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer fixed with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Add in yeast mixture, beet puree and olive oil. Mix until just combined. Knead, by hand or in a stand mixer fixed with the dough hook, about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove risen dough from bowl and shape into a round ball. Place dough on a baking stone or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and cover loosely with a lightly greased piece of plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F with an empty broiler pan placed on the rack beneath where youâ€™ll put the baking stone or sheet. Before baking the bread, sprinkle the top with a little flour and make an X shape on the top with a serrated knife. Place the bread in the oven and pour 1 cup hot water into the broiler pan, closing the oven door immediately. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the bottom center of the loaf reads 190 degrees F. Allow bread to cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing or serving.
RADISH & BEETROOT CHUTNEY
Great with cheese, cold meats, on a baked potato or with sausages.
SERVES MAKES APPROX 2KG PREPARATION TIME 15 MINS COOKING TIME 1 HOUR
WHAT YOU’LL NEED 1.5kg raw beetroot, trimmed, peeled and diced 20 shallots, quartered 40 radishes, quartered 2 eating apples, peeled and grated 2 tbsp BART mustard seeds 2 tbsp BART coriander seeds 800ml white wine vinegar 600ml balsamic vinegar 700g demerara sugar
WHAT TO DO In your largest saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the beetroot is cooked and the juices have thickened. Once the chutney is done, spoon it into sterilised jars and seal the lids while it’s still hot. Use straight away or keep for up to 6 weeks.
NOTES To sterilise your jars, run them through a hot wash in your dish washer or boil in a pan of water for 10 minutes.
BEETROOT & VANILLA CUP CAKES WITH ROSE BUTTER ICING
SERVES MAKES 12 CUPCAKES PREPARATION TIME 45 MIN COOKING TIME 20 MIN
WHAT YOUâ€™LL NEED For the cupcakes: 175g caster sugar 175g unsalted butter 3 large eggs, separated 175g self raising flour 175g plain cooked beetroot, drained (hold a few drops of juice back to use as colouring) and pureed 1 tbsp vanilla extract
FOR THE ICING 300g icing sugar 150g unsalted butter, slightly softened a few drops rose flower water, to taste a few drops beetroot juice, to colour For the crystallized rose petals: 3 organic pink roses, separated into petals 1 egg white Caster sugar (a sprinkling)
WHAT TO DO Make the crystallized rose petals the day before you want to serve the cupcakes. They will keep in an airtight box for a few weeks. Lay out a piece of silicon-coated baking paper on a tray. Pick through the petals and choose the 12 loveliest looking ones and lay them on the tray. Brush gently with egg white and sprinkle all over with caster sugar. Allow to dry in a warm place for 8 hours before using. When you are ready to make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 180째C/Gas Mark 4. Blend together the sugar and butter until light and creamy. Add the egg yolks, flour, pureed beetroot and vanilla and beat until smooth. In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until fairly stiff. Take a large spoon of egg white and beat into the cupcake mixture to loosen it a little. Then, using a large metal spoon fold the remaining egg whites gently through the mix, taking care not to over beat. Spoon the mixture into 12 cupcake cases and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes, or until the cakes are firm to the touch. Remove and cool on a wire rack. To make the icing, beat the icing sugar and butter together, either in a food mixer or by hand with a wooden spoon. Add a few drops of rose flower water to taste, and a few drops of beetroot juice to colour the icing. Spread generously or pipe over the cooled cupcakes and top each with a rose petal.
AMERICAN STYLE BEETROOT PIE WITH BART SPICES Light and delicious !
SERVES 4 PREPARATION TIME 15 MIN COOKING TIME 40 - 50 MIN
WHAT YOU’LL NEED 250g shortcrust pastry 325g plain cook beetroot, drained 3 eggs 75g soft brown sugar 2tsp BART ground mixed spice ½ tsp BART ground allspice (optional) ½ tsp BART ground ginger (optional) 250ml double cream
WHAT TO DO Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Roll out the pastry and use it to line a 23cm loose bottomed pie tin. Line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 20 minutes. Whilst the pastry is baking, prepare the filling by pureeing the beetroot along with the eggs in a food processor. In a small saucepan add the sugar, all the spices and cream and bring slowly up to a simmering point. Pour into the food processor and mix thoroughly with the beetroot puree. Remove the pastry case from the oven and reduce the temperature to 180°C/Gas Mark Pour the filling carefully into the pastry case and bake for around 25-30 minutes. The edge should be puffed up a little and the centre will still be a touch wobbly. Allow to cool and chill in the fridge. Serve with crème fraiche.
BEATING YOUR 64
RESEARCH AND ASSISTANCE BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/) Lovebeets - Katherine Shropshire (http://lovebeets.com/) London Evening Standard (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/lifestyle/health) Vegetable Garden Guide (http://www.vegetable-garden-guide.com/planting-beet.html) Growing Your Own Veg (http://www.growingyourownveg.com/beetroot.php) Beetroot Recipes (http://www.beetrootrecipes.co.uk/)
PHOTOGRAHICS CREDITS Violetta Wyszynska: p 6, 16-17, 30, 40 - 41,62 Sandi foodie: p 12, 18, 44, 52, 36
All rights reserved 2012 EDITOR: Violetta Wyszynska DESIGNER: Violetta Wyszynska