Know your Beetroot

Know your Beetroot - Introduction

  • The beetroot (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris var. vulgaris), also known as the table beet, garden beet, red beet or informally simply as beet, is one of the many cultivated varieties of beets and arguably the most commonly encountered variety in North America and Britain.
  • "Blood Turnip" was once a common name for beet root cultivars for the garden.

Know your Beetroot - Botany

  • Beta vulgaris is a herbaceous biennial or rarely perennial plant with leafy stems growing to 1–2 m tall. 
  • The leaves are heart-shaped, 5–20 cm long on wild plants (often much larger in cultivated plants). 
  • The flowers are produced in dense spikes, each flower very small, 3–5 mm diameter, green or tinged reddish, with five petals; they are wind-pollinated. 
  • The fruit is a cluster of hard nutlets.

Know your Beetroot - Uses

  • The usually deep-red roots of beetroot are eaten boiled either as a cooked vegetable, or cold as a salad after cooking and adding oil and vinegar, or raw and shredded, either alone or combined with any salad vegetable. 
  • A large proportion of the commercial production is processed into boiled and sterilised beets or into pickles
  • In Eastern Europe beet soup, such as cold borscht, is a popular dish. 
  • Yellow-coloured beetroots are grown on a very small scale for home consumption.
  • The green leafy portion of the beet is also edible. It is most commonly served boiled or steamed in which case it has a taste and texture similar to that of spinach.

Know your Beetroot - Nutrition

  • Health benefits of beetroot include cholesterol lowering, liver function support and possible cancer prevention. 
  • Studies have demonstrated that red beet products used regularly in the diet may provide protection against certain oxidative stress-related disorders in humans, see nutrition menu option.