Beetroot is hailed as a 'superfood' by athletes and nutritionists, but is it really the tops? And why does it stain your hands? Our food experts get to the root of the matter
Is beetroot good for you?
Beetroot is a good source of iron and folate*, while boiled beets contain more potassium than bananas, gram for gram**.
How is beetroot grown?
Beetroot likes moist, fertile soil in a sunny spot. Sow seeds any time from April to July, and pray for some warm weather!
What is beetroot called in Hindi?
Cukandara – so now you know.
Why is beetroot red?
Red beets contain red and yellow dyes called betalain pigments, which also occur in flower petals. When beetroot is peeled or chopped, the cell walls are broken and the coloured pigments leave you with ink-stained purple hands.
Where does beetroot originate?
The Mediterranean was where beetroot first sprouted and was cultivated – surprisingly nowhere near Russia or even Poland, where it’s so popular today. In ancient Greece, beetroot was offered to Apollo in his temple at Delphi and was believed to be worth its weight in silver!
What does beetroot look like?
Round orbs of earthy goodness, red beetroot looks, well, red! Yellow beetroot on the other hand has a burnt orange exterior and is sunflower yellow inside. Slice into striped beetroot and you’ll see concentric white and pink circles. A sight for sore eyes.
Step to the beet and enjoy some of these top beetroot recipes:
- Beetroot and sultana muffins
- Beetroot soup
- Puy lentil, goats’ cheese and beetroot salad
- Roast beetroot with hazelnut butter and watercress
- Warm beetroot with goats' cheese and tarragon
- Spaghetti with beetroot and spinach
*Nutrition figures from nhs.uk
**Nutrition figures taken from McCance and Widdowson's, The Composition of Foods (Fifth Edition)