Add beautiful beetroot to your shopping basket in May.
Beetroot is not sold by variety but you can buy both regular beetroot and baby beetroot, which tends to be smaller in size and sweeter, making it ideal for salads.
Choose firm beetroots with smooth skins and no blemishes. Make sure the leaves are fresh and deep green in colour.
Beetroots can be kept in a cool, dark place for up to three days. It can also be kept refrigerated for up to 10 days.
Wash beetroot and trim stems, leaving 2–3 cm intact, before cooking. Boil, roast or steam beetroots until tender. Peel skin after cooking otherwise their colour will ‘bleed’. Add to salads or pasta dishes for extra colour and flavour. Beetroot leaves can also be added to soups or salads.
4 quick ways with beetroots
Wrap beetroot bulbs in foil. Cook in a 200ºC oven for 1 hour, until tender crisp. Allow to cool, then peel skin (wear gloves to avoid staining your hands) and chop into 1 cm cubes. In a large bowl, combine beetroot with diced red onion, chopped walnuts, zest of 1 orange and plenty of fresh parsley. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve. This dish goes well with lamb rissoles.
Spice up a side salad with beetroot. Grate raw beetroot and combine with grated carrot, apple, chopped walnuts and reduced-fat feta.
Try this yummy beetroot dip. Remove stems and boil 4 large beetroots until tender. Peel and place into a food processor and blend until very finely minced. Add 1/3 cup low-fat natural yoghurt and 2 teaspoons horseradish cream. Blend again until combined. Stir through chopped fresh chives. Serve with slices of toasted bread or water crackers.
Try this for a delicious side dish that goes well with any main meal. Cut 4 large roasted and peeled beetroots into thick horizontal slices. Mix 4 tablespoons goat’s cheese with 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil and a little lemon zest. Create 4 beetroot stacks by spreading some of the goat’s cheese mix onto a slice of beetroot, then repeating with the other slices of beetroot. Top each stack with a couple of fresh basil leaves and some freshly ground black pepper to serve.
Did you know? Beetroot is high in nitrate and has been shown to boost stamina in athletes.