Many people I have asked about beetroots simply don't like them. Usually, they mention something about the childhood memories of eating pickled beetroots, totally drenched in the overwhelming taste of vinegar. Yuck, no wonder! But if this is your experience too, I would encourage you to give the humble beet another chance.
In my view, they have everything going for them.
Beets are sweet and a bit earthy in flavour. They have a velvety texture and the ability to liven up any dish with their intensely bold purple colour. They are also very good for you as they are a great source of important vitamins, minerals and micronutrients - including betalins (a type of antioxidant) - which can protect you against high blood pressure.
- Beetroot was originally used by the Romans and Greeks for medicinal purposes. The culinary root variety was developed around the sixteenth century and become a popular vegetable two hundred years later.
- Industrial cultivation of sugar beet in Europe was kick-started by Napoleon Bonaparte in early nineteen century to provide France with an alternative source of sugar to cane supplied by the British colonial trade from West Indies.
- Beetroot dye is used to colour various products including ketchup, frozen pizzas and even strawberry jam and ice cream! Victorians also used it as a hair dye.
- Your pee might go pink after eating beetroot. This is caused by the beet’s red pigments passing through the body. The condition is known as beeturia and is nothing to panic about.
- If you get a beetroot stain on your clothes or your hands, try rubbing a slice of lemon on it.
- Records show that the heaviest beetroot in the world weighed 23.4kg (51.48lb) and was grown by Ian Neale from Somerset in 2001.