The beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant, usually known in North America as the beet, also table beet, garden beet, or red or golden beet. It is several of the cultivated varieties of Beta vulgaris grown for their edible taproots and their leaves (called beet greens). These varieties have been classified as B. vulgaris subsp. vulgaris Conditiva Group.
The usually deep purple roots of beetroot are eaten either boiled, roasted or raw, either alone or combined with any salad vegetable. A large proportion of the commercial production is processed into boiled and sterilised beets or into pickles. In Eastern Europe, beet soup, such as borsch, is a popular dish. In Indian cuisine, chopped, cooked, spiced beet is a common side dish. Yellow-coloured beetroots are grown on a very small scale for home consumption.
The green, leafy portion of the beet is also edible. It is most commonly served boiled or steamed, in which case it has a taste and texture similar to spinach. Those selected should be bulbs that are unmarked, avoiding those with overly limp leaves or wrinkled skins, both of which are signs of dehydration.
Beetroot can be boiled or steamed, peeled and then eaten warm with or without butter as a delicacy; cooked, pickled, and then eaten cold as a condiment; or peeled, shredded raw, and then eaten as a salad. Pickled beets are a traditional food in many countries.
A traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dish is pickled beet egg. Hard-boiled eggs are refrigerated in the liquid left over from pickling beets and allowed to marinate until the eggs turn a deep pink-red colour.
In Poland and Ukraine, beet is combined with horseradish to form popular ćwikła, which is traditionally used with cold cuts and sandwiches, but often also added to a meal consisting of meat and potatoes. As an addition to horseradish it is also used to produce the "red" variety of chrain, a popular condiment in Ashkenazi Jewish, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian cuisine.
When beet juice is used, it is most stable in foods with a low water content, such as frozen novelties and fruit fillings. Betanins, obtained from the roots, are used industrially as red food colourants, e.g. to intensify the colour of tomato paste, sauces, desserts, jams and jellies, ice cream, sweets, and breakfast cereals.
Beetroot can also be used to make wine.
Betanin, obtained from the roots, is used industrially as red food colorant, to improve the color and flavor of tomato paste, sauces, desserts, jams and jellies, ice cream, sweets, breakfast cereals, etc.
From the Middle Ages, beetroot was used as a treatment for a variety of conditions, especially illnesses relating to digestion and the blood. Bartolomeo Platina recommended taking beetroot with garlic to nullify the effects of "garlic-breath".
Beets contain betaines which may function to reduce the concentration of homocysteine, a homolog of the naturally occurring amino acid cysteine. High circulating levels of homocysteine may be harmful to blood vessels and thus contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. This hypothesis is controversial as it has not yet been established whether homocysteine itself is harmful or is just an indicator of increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||180 kJ (43 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||2.0 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Per 100 gram serving providing 43 calories, beetroot is an excellent source (20% of the Daily Value, DV) of folate and a good source (14% DV) of manganese, with other nutrients in low amounts (table).
The red colour compound betanin is not broken down in the body, and in higher concentrations may temporarily cause urine and stool to assume a reddish colour; in the case of urine this is called beeturia. This effect may cause distress and concern due to the visual similarity to what appears to be blood in the stool, hematuria (blood in the urine), or hematochezia (blood passing through the anus, usually in or with stool). These deceptive appearances are completely harmless and subside once the betanin is out of the system. In the cases of reddish feces, the bright redness from betanin is in contrast to what occurs with melena (very dark or blackish feces) which often indicates that bleeding is occurring further up the digestive system, and is more likely to be a serious problem.
Below is a list of several commonly available cultivars of beets. Generally, 55 to 65 days are needed from germination to harvest of the root. All cultivars can be harvested earlier for use as greens. Unless otherwise noted, the root colours are shades of red and dark red with different degrees of zoning noticeable in slices.
- 'Albino', heirloom (white root)
- 'Bull's Blood', heirloom
- 'Chioggia', heirloom (distinct red and white zoned root)
- 'Crosby's Egyptian', heirloom
- 'Cylindra' / 'Formanova', heirloom (elongated root)
- 'Detroit Dark Red Medium Top', heirloom
- 'Early Wonder', heirloom
- 'Golden Beet' / 'Burpee's Golden', heirloom (yellow root)
- 'Perfected Detroit', 1934 AAS winner
- 'Red Ace' Hybrid
- 'Ruby Queen', 1957 AAS winner
- 'Touchstone Gold' (yellow root)
- "beet". def. 1 and 2. also "beet-root". Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0) © Oxford University Press 2009
- "Sorting Beta names". Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database. The University of Melbourne. Archived from the original on 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
- Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (2004) Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen; Backhuys, Leiden; CTA, Wageningen.
- Francis, F.J. (1999). Colorants. Egan Press. ISBN 1-891127-00-4.
- Making Wild Wines & Meads; Pattie Vargas & Rich Gulling; page 73
- MacMillan, Margaret Olwen (2002) . "We are the League of the People". Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World (1st U.S. ed.). New York: Random House. p. 60. ISBN 0375508260. LCCN 2002023707.
Relief workers invented names for things they had never seen before, such as the mangelwurzel disease, which afflicted those who lived solely on beets.
- Platina De Honesta Voluptate et Valetudine, 3.14
- Lundberg, J.O.; Carlström, M.; Larsen, F.J.; Weitzberg, E. (2011). "Roles of dietary inorganic nitrate in cardiovascular health and disease". Cardiovasc Res 89 (3): 525–32. doi:10.1093/cvr/cvq325. PMID 20937740.
- Hobbs, D. A.; Kaffa, N.; George, T. W.; Methven, L.; Lovegrove, J. A. (2012). "Blood pressure-lowering effects of beetroot juice and novel beetroot-enriched bread products in normotensive male subjects". British Journal of Nutrition 108 (11): 2066–2074. doi:10.1017/S0007114512000190. PMID 22414688.
- Siervo, M.; Lara, J.; Ogbonmwan, I.; Mathers, J. C. (2013). "Inorganic Nitrate and Beetroot Juice Supplementation Reduces Blood Pressure in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis". Journal of Nutrition 143 (6): 818–826. doi:10.3945/jn.112.170233. PMID 23596162.
- Pajares, M. A.; Pérez-Sala, D (2006). "Betaine homocysteine S-methyltransferase: Just a regulator of homocysteine metabolism?". Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 63 (23): 2792–803. doi:10.1007/s00018-006-6249-6. PMID 17086380.
- A.D.A.M., Inc., ed. (2002). Betaine. University of Maryland Medical Center.
- Potter, K.; Hankey, G. J.; Green, D. J.; Eikelboom, J. W.; Arnolda, L. F. (2008). "Homocysteine or Renal Impairment: Which is the Real Cardiovascular Risk Factor?". Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 28 (6): 1158. doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.108.162743.
- "Nutrition Facts for Beets, Raw per 100 g". 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- Frank, T; Stintzing, F. C.; Carle, R; Bitsch, I; Quaas, D; Strass, G; Bitsch, R; Netzel, M (2005). "Urinary pharmacokinetics of betalains following consumption of red beet juice in healthy humans". Pharmacological Research 52 (4): 290–7. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2005.04.005. PMID 15964200.
- Kolb E, Haug M, Janzowski C, Vetter A, Eisenbrand G (1997). "Potential nitrosamine formation and its prevention during biological denitrification of red beet juice". Food and Chemical Toxicology : an International Journal Published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association 35 (2): 219–24. PMID 9146735. Retrieved 2015-06-06.
- "AAS winners 1933 to present". Retrieved 2011-11-04.
Media related to Beetroot at Wikimedia Commons