Beetroot is a member of the same family as sugar beet, and leaf beet such as chard. It originates from a sea beet, and the modern varieties are thought to have originated from those found growing wild around the shores of Africa and Asia. The ancient Romans were one of the first civilisations to cultivate beets and use their roots as food.
Nutrionally, beetroot is another star vegetable. Rich in folate, manganese, potassium, fibre, Vit C, magnesium, tryptophan, iron, copper and phosporus, it is especially good for women! The green tops are also nutritious, and red pigment is considered to be rich in anti-cancer agents.
Beetroot has been used extensively to treat cancer patients, and its anti oxidant properties can help protect against heart disease. It is useful in cases of anaemia, blood or immune system disorders, and in chronic illnesses such as ME.
Beetroot juice is superb – use 1 beetroot, 2 apples and 2 carrots for a wonderful pink healthful drink.
Ah yes – don’t be alarmed if you see red after consuming beetroot – your urine and stools will show traces of the pink juice, a condition called beeturia, harmless, and it will return to normal!
Use the tops. In soups, stir fries etc, or shred and use raw in salad.
The roots can be used raw – especially baby new season beets. Grate into a mix of apple and carrot, add lemon juice, raisins and sunflower seeds. Try grated beetroot with apple, orange, horseradish or chopped mint.
Cook beets whole, never cut, top or tail. Bake (wrap in foil, slow oven) or roast with other veg. Steam or boil, slice and serve hot or cold. Cube cooked beetroot and add to stir fries. Cube and cool, serve with toasted walnuts, vinaigrette, parsley or chives.
Mash with potatoes – what a fantastic colourful mash!
Roast - fabulous winter roast with any combination of artichokes, parsnip, swede, squash, garlic and roast pots. Roasts quickest as chunks. garnish with coriander or parsley.
Try Borscht soup, or serve as a hot veg with soured cream, pepper and parsley.
- 1 lb beetroot
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 pints vegetable
- 1 lb potatoes
- salt & pepper
- stock or beetroot
- 1 large onion
- 5 fl oz thick yoghurt
- cooking liquid
- 2 garlic cloves
Wash the beetroot and place in a pan of salted water, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes, until tender. Allow to cool slightly, peel and chop. Reserve the cooking liquid.
Wash and chop the potatoes, peel and chop the onion. Sauté both in hot oil for 10 minutes. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the stock / cooking liquid, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until tender.
Add the beetroot and lemon juice to the pan, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Cool slightly, transfer to a liquidiser and blend until smooth.
Reheat before serving, adding a swirl of yoghurt to each bowl.
Venison & beetroot casserole
- 4-6 shallots
- 3 medium beetroot, peeled and cubed
- 1 pint red wine
- 1lb venison, cubed seasoned, floured
- 4 cloves;
- pinch nutmeg
- 1 stick cinnamon;
- 1 tsp mixed spice
Pre-heat oven to 160ºC
Fry the shallots in a little butter for 5 minutes until soft - put in a casserole dish.
Coat the venison in seasoned flour. Fry it in the same pan, adding a little more butter if required and brown, adding to the casserole dish when done.
Add everything else to the casserole dish, place a well-fitting lid and put in the oven, on the centre shelf. Bake slowly for at least 2½ hours, until everything is well-cooked and tender.
HANDY HINT : Other root vegetables and / or mushrooms can be added to this casserole if you wish. Add with everything else and increase the wine accordingly or add a little stock.
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