Thursday, 9 June 2011

What do I do with beetroot (beets)?

Welcome to the first in my new series, "What do I do with...?"

I have discovered that a great many accomplished people are at a loss as to how to prepare fresh ingredients, and I thought I'd have a go at doing something about that. I decided to start with beetroot because it is so versatile and because it falls somewhere between the everyday things like carrots and cabbage and the 'outlandish' things like fennel and edamame beans.

It is not my intention to provide an exhaustive list in each instance, and I won't always supply links to recipes. But at least you will have a few ideas to set you off on a Google quest.

If you have any special requests, please let me know.

Back to beetroot.

You may not know this, but you can eat beetroot raw.
  • Peeled and grated into a fresh salad, it adds colour, interest, texture... and vitamins!
  • There are also some delicious cake recipes that call for raw beetroot

If you're going to boil a beetroot, don't peel it, but cut the stems off about an inch away from the veg itself, this prevents too much of the colour from leeching away during cooking. Boil for about as long as you would a potato of similar size. When you can insert and remove a sharp knife without too much hassle, it's done. Now you can peel it and do any of a number of things with it.
  • You could serve it hot as a vegetable with your main meal
  • You could chop it up and use it in a risotto
  • You could wait for it to cool down and slice or shop it up into a salad
  • You could slice it and pickle it
  • On the other hand, there are also cake recipes that call for cooked beetroot
One of my favourite things to do with beetroot is to roast it along with other veg. Peel and quarter the raw beetroot and roast it in the oven, just as you would a potato. It takes a little longer, though, so test it with a sharp knife for readiness. You can also sprinkle cumin, fennel, coriander or caraway seeds over it before roasting. Yum!

So, off you go, now and experiment with this delicious, nutritious vegetable. I should just warn you though, that the colour erm... "goes straight through you" (as my mother-in-law puts it) so you might notice evidence of it on your subsequent visit to the loo (bathroom) for a day or so. Do not panic.

Later edit:
Doh! And I completely forgot to mention that you can use it to make borscht (traditional Russian soup)!

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