Funky Beets




Whether you roast it whole, blend into a classic soup or drink as juice beetroot is low in fat, full of vitamins and minerals and packed with powerful antioxidants. So why do so many people turn their nose up at Beets. My only explanation for this is that they only know the canned variety. Rob refused to each beetroot until he tasted baked baby beets ..... Fresh raw beetroots have a crunchy texture that turns soft and buttery when they are cooked. Beet leaves have a lively, bitter taste similar to chard and ca be used in so many ways .... so no throwing them away!






Like many modern vegetables, beetroot was first cultivated by the Romans. By the 19th century it held great commercial value when it was discovered that beets could be converted into sugar. Many classic beetroot recipes are associated with central and Eastern Europe including the famous beetroot soup known as Borscht. Beetroot's earthy charm has resulted in its influence on todays fashionable menus and recipes. Its delicious but distinctive flavour and nutritional status have escalated it to the root you have to eat!

Belonging to the same family as chard and spinach, both the leaves and root can be eaten. Although typically a beautiful reddish-purple hue, beets also come in varieties that feature white, golden/yellow or even rainbow colour roots. No matter what their colour, however, beet roots aren't as hardy as they look; the smallest bruise or puncture will cause red beets' red-purple pigments to bleed, especially during cooking. So treat them kindly.


How to select.

Good quality, fresh beetroots should have their greens intact. The greens should be fresh-looking with no signs of spoilage. The beetroot should be firm, smooth, and a vibrant red-purple, not soft, wrinkled or dull in colour.

Wash beets gently under cool running water, taking care not to tear the skin. It is this tough outer layer that helps keep most of the beetroot's pigments inside. The leaves can be steamed lightly to retain their nutritional quality. 

Though available year round, beets are sweetest and most tender during their peak season, from June to October. Beets are enjoying a resurgence in popularity among modern chefs. While heirloom varieties like white and golden yellow beets make for pretty dishes, only red beets have the cancer-fighting compound betacyanin.


Beetroot Storage

Fresh Beets how long do they last?

Fresh beets with the greens attached can be stored for three to four days in the fridge, but beets with the greens removed can be stored in the fridge for two to four weeks. Raw beets do not freeze well since they tend to become soft on thawing. Freezing cooked beetroot is fine as it retains its flavour and texture. 

How long do cooked beets last in the fridge?
  • Cooked or canned beets may be refrigerated up to one week. 
  • To maximise the shelf life of cooked beets for safety and quality, refrigerate the beets in shallow airtight containers or wrap tightly with heavy-duty aluminium foil. 
  • To further extend the shelf life of cooked beets, freeze them; freeze in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, or wrap tightly with heavy-duty aluminium foil or freezer wrap.
How long do cooked beets last in the freezer?
  • They will maintain best quality for 10 to 12 months, but will remain safe beyond that time. Be sure to peel before freezing in airtight containers or baggies, leaving no air in the container. 
  • They may be frozen whole or in cut pieces.
  • Cooked beets that have been kept constantly frozen will keep safe indefinitely.
How long do cooked beets last after being frozen and thawed?
  • Cooked beets that have been thawed in the fridge can be kept for an additional 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator before cooking.

Tip: If your hands become stained during preparation and cooking beetroot, rub some lemon juice over them to help remove the colour.

Tip: Slightly limp greens can be restored to freshness if stored in the refrigerator in water. However, if it's too late, you can simply cut them off.


How to Prepare Beets.

Boil
  1. When boiling beetroot, leave the beets with their root ends and one inch of stem attached and don't peel them until after cooking since beet juice can stain your skin.
  2. Wash under cool, running water.
  3. Be careful to not scrub the skin too hard when washing and do not cut or slice off any part of the vegetable so the skin stays intact (for best results when boiling, the skins need to be on to retain the colour and flavour).
  4. Place them in a large saucepan, then cover with cold water.
  5. Add salt and sugar, then cover (about 1 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp of salt for 2 litres of water).
  6. Turn heat on high until the water begins to boil, then reduce heat to medium to keep water at a simmer.
  7. Cook 45 minutes to an hour or until done.
  8. When they're done, remove from heat, drain water and then plunge them quickly into cold water.
  9. Remove from cold water, cut off root tips and stems, and you should be able to rub the skins off easily with a damp towel.
  10. Serve them sliced or mashed with a bit of butter, salt and pepper to taste.
Roast

  1. PRE-HEAT the oven to 200C.
  2. Wash, peel and quarter them (you can also slice them about 1cm thick instead of in quarters - cooking time will be a little less).
  3. Arrange pieces on a baking sheet then drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (or about 1 tablespoon of oil for every 500g).
  4. Season generously with salt and pepper, then toss them until coated.
  5. Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes or until they are tender right through, turning them at least once.
Bake

  1. PRE-HEAT the oven to 200C.
  2. Wash and leave 5cm ends on the stalks and roots, and leave the skins on, then wrap in two layers of aluminium foil.
  3. Place them on a baking tray and place in the oven. Cook for about an hour until they are tender.
  4. When done, remove foil, trim off the stalk and root ends, then rub the skins off with a damp towel.

Steam

  1. WASH and trim stalks and roots to 5cm, leaving skins intact, then place in a steamer above boiling water.
  2. Bring salted water to a boil in a saucepan or pot, positioning steamer on top.
  3. After cleaning, arrange the beetroots in the steamer, cover, and cook for about 45 minutes or until tender.
  4. Remove from heat, plunge them quickly in cold water, then remove skins with a damp cloth.

Eat Raw

  1. WASH and peel
  2. Simply grate raw beets for a delicious and colourful addition to salads or decorative garnish for soups.
  3. Use a spiral cutter to cut beautiful spirals, adding colour to all dishes.





Some Recipes for you to try:


Beetroot Jam

A favourite in Our Galley, this earth jam goes with just about anything.
It will liven up Eggs, Bacon/Pork, savoury Pancakes, Cheese Platters ... 
but don't just think it is for savoury dishes.
Try it with sweets as well! Amazing with Creme Fraiche ....



Beetroot Chocolate Cake

This cake is moist and deLISH without a topping, 
if you would like to dress it up sprinkle with icing sugar 
or your favourite cream cheese icing.


Why is my Urine Pink?

Beetroot contains betalain and it is passing of this that causes red or pink urine after eating beetroots or foods coloured with beetroot extract or beetroot pigments. The colouring is highly variable between individuals, Not everyone will experience a change in urine colour after eating beets.



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