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Like Marmite, beetroot is sometimes the subject of debate at the dinner table. Somepeople love it, some hate it. Maybe that's because of its distinct naturally sweet, earthy, even smoky flavour and smooth, velvety texture. Or perhaps because it's normally found in shops pre-cooked and preserved in vinegar with a sharp, slightly acidic taste that can really put some people off.
It’s easy to notice a beetroot, it leaves a vivid, deep magenta trail wherever it goes. On your plate, fingers and tongue too. But don’t worry, it’s not harmful, is perfectly digestible and can provide you with many health benefits.
Beetroot is sometimes hailed as a super food because it’s rich in important minerals and nutrients. It’s considered to be good for the blood, the heart and the digestive system. Beetroot is rich in folate, and has been recognised for its anti-oxidant properties which are great for bolstering up the immune system and possibly helping to prevent cancer.
Beetroot also contains betanine, a substance which is used to add colour to sauces, jams and paste. Apparently, betanine promotes a sense of well-being as it relaxes the mind and can be used to treat depression. So next time you’re feeling blue, try some beetroot.
Beetroot can be boiled and then simmered in a pan of water for 1-3 hours (according to size). It can also be baked in foil for 2-3 hours (according to size) at 180c/gas mark 4. The skin should be removed and will come off quite easily after cooking. When preparing beetroot, you’ll need to wash it thoroughly and slice off the roots and top. If you’re eating it raw, then peel the skin with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife.
Recipe: beetroot and carraway soup