What is beetroot?
Beetroot is a root crop and – just like sugar beet – belongs to the amaranth family. The tubers grow underground, while the foliage does protrude above the earth. The leaf itself can grow up to 80 cm high. Red beets can be eaten almost all year round.
Red beets are known for their ‘earth-like’ taste. Something that the one likes and the other disgust. A hatred-love issue.
The beetroot comes from far, because of its earthy taste. I do not mean that literally (beetroot can be grown almost everywhere) but figuratively. Red beets were in fact a so-called ‘forgotten vegetable’. In other words, they were always there … but most people did not care about it 😉
Strange, once you discover how incredibly versatile this colorful vegetable is. We are undoubtedly huge fans!
And there is another advantage …
Is beetroot healthy?
Yep, beetroots are real health bombs! Unlike the many popular ‘superfoods’, they do not have to imported from all directions, and they do not cost you your entire monthly wage. For example, beets contain a lot of iron, fiber, and magnesium. The red color is then caused by the substances betanin and betalain: both very powerful antioxidants.
As with all vegetables, some of the nutrients are lost when heated. Not a problem or so, but it is perhaps useful to know that red beets can also be eaten raw. For example, by cutting wafer-thin slices. When you also put them in a marinade (oil and herbs), they also become more or less ‘cooked’. In other words: soft and with a lot of extra flavors.
How to cook beetroot?
There is also much to be said about the cooking of beetroot. There are some practical things that you have to take into account. You can discover them in the above video or in the summary text below.
As said before, beetroot can be eaten almost all year round. Yet there are different types of beetroot for different cultivation and harvest periods. Roughly you can distinguish two types: the summer beet and the winter beet.
The most significant difference between both types is in the cooking time. For example, cook a summer beet in about 15 minutes, while the winter version may even require up to 2 (!) Hours of cooking time. Of course, the size – and also the shape – of the beet can influence.
This being said, it is strange enough that in most stores you will not find beets that have to cook for more than 1 hour. Probably because no customer is waiting for that 🙂
To make a long story short: when you cook beetroot, you can stay better in the area and check the doneness regularly. Based on my own experiences, I can say that the average cooking time of red beets is about 30-40 minutes.
Peeling red beets
A second important fact is this: do NOT peel a beetroot. As soon as you damage the outside, the beet will start to ‘bleed,’ and you will lose a lot of flavors when cooking. Not to mention nutrients.
Therefore, you should cook beetroot unpeeled. In this way, nothing is lost, and you get the best taste result at the end of the ride.
You can cook red beets like this:
- Bring a pot with plenty of water to the boil.
- Do not peel the red beets. Rinse thoroughly under cold running water to remove as much soil as possible.
- Put the beets as a whole in the boiling water and boil the beets until they are al dente. You can check that doneness by pricking the beet with a sharp knife (now indeed damage the skin). As soon as the knife passes effortlessly, your beet is al dente. If not, then you cook it a bit longer.
- Remove the cooked beetroot from the water and let them briefly drain and cool.
- Finally cut the ends of the beetroot and remove the skin with your hands or with the aid of a peeler. This is super easy. Often the skin comes loose almost immediately after cooking.
Recipes with beetroot
It is really incomprehensible that the beetroot has been in a stupor for so long. Nowadays he has happily appreciated again. Even chefs often put it back on the menu. Completely justified because the color alone is a feast for the eyes.
In addition, there are few vegetables that are as versatile as the red beet. As I said, it can be eaten raw, if it is into thin slices or small cubes. Once cooked, you can also take all possible sides with it. And there are a lot of herbs that fit perfectly with beetroot.
For example, roasting beetroot is a real recommendation. Just as easily you process them in an overwhelming amount of other dishes.
Here you’ll find our beetroot recipes >>
(we will add it regularly)
Are beet leaves edible?
One last important fact: do not throw away the leaves! You can prepare it just like spinach (ie, heating and shrinking). I dare to say that it is even tastier and more nutritious than spinach itself.
So, this is certainly enough inspiration to get started. If you’re not a beetroot lover at first … just try one of the recipes. I am sure that you will be pleasantly surprised.
Do you like beetroot and do you ever make a recipe? Feel free to share this below!