Ingredient of the Month: Beetroot
Septembers Ingredient of the Month for Cooks & Partners is the purple beetroot. So why beetroot I hear you ask?
Beetroot is making a comeback since its popularity as a 1970s salad staple. Juiced and drunk by Olympians, this classic root vegetable, which was first cultivated by the Romans, has a huge array of health benefits that have now been recognised and publicised. Its also relatively cheap too and can be incorporated into a variety of dishes. Beware though, as the beetroot has the ability to turn anything a shocking pink colour! Its worth noting that beetroot comes in various shades from a reddish purple to yellow as seen above.
Is your liver in need of a good cleanse? If you’ve had a few too many G&Ts recently, chances are your liver might need some TLC. Beets are known to be high in antioxidants and contain nutrients that can help cleanse and detoxify the liver. The three main nutrients include; betaine which helps liver cells get rid of toxins, pectin which helps the body clear the toxins and stop their return and betalains an anti-inflammatory that further encourages detoxification.
For some great detoxifying beetroot recipes visit the mindbodygreen website for inspiration.
Weight Loss Aid
As beets are low in fat and high in fibre they can aid a good weight loss plan. Rich in magnesium, they can support muscle function too which can be especially helpful if you are hitting the gym more than usual.
Pickled, Raw or Roasted
Pickling your beets is a simple process and a great way to prolong their life. If you have grown your own, pull them up from the ground when they are ready, chop the stalks off (about an inch away from the top of the beetroot) and wash. For the purpose of pickling, you will then need to boil the beetroot and as to ensure they don’t lose all that lovely pink/purple colour, this should be done in their skins.
Put the beetroot in a pan of already boiling water and simmer for about 30-40 minutes depending on their size - they are ready when a knife easily pierces through. Let them cool and remove their skins and the remaining stalk and roots. Chop or slice the beetroot and then place in about a pint of vinegar and simmer. Using sterilised jars pour in the vinegar and beetroot. Leave in a dark cool place for about 6 weeks. They keep for about a year after production.
For further tips see the Garden Shop website.
Raw – Grate or Sliced
Eaten raw, beets are crunchy and sweet. It’s the best way to retain all their nutrients and get the most from their antioxidant properties. Instead of just incorporating them into salads, why not try beetroot finger sandwiches or shaved over fresh pasta with goats cheese and herbs.
Honey roasted or with garlic and thyme, roasted beetroots are a must-try. We suggest as part of tray-bake and serve with roast chicken.
As with all our Ingredients of the Month, they are featured on our specials board in our cafes across London. Pop in and try one this September. In the meantime, here are a few beetroot dishes for you to try at home: