Beetroots are usually spherical with a small taproot, medium-sized and deep red in colour, earthy and tender to eat. Golden beets are more orange than gold and tend to be sweeter than red beets. Nutrient rich green leaves.
Carbohydrate, fibre, and vitamin C, B1, B2, B6, niacin, pantothenic acid, magnesium, calcium and potassium and silicon trace amounts of sodium, zinc and copper. High in glutamine and asparagine. Fresh beets have twice the folate (folic acid) and potassium of canned beets, and if you eat the green tops, beta-carotene, calcium, and iron as well. Oxalic acid in leaves.
Red beets contain glyconutrients. Beet sugar is much more nutritious and utilisable than cane sugar, which has to be converted by the digestive system, before the body can absorb it.
The leaves contain oxalic acid which reduces absorption of calcium and iron, raw leaves should not eaten in excess, or they should beeaten cooked, and with something acidic such as lemon juice.
Benefits and Uses
Beetroot stimulates the production of red blood cells, improves the function of the liver, detoxifies, is a general tonic, relieves constipation, nourishes the nervous system and brain, good for nursing mothers to stimulate milk production, improves circulation, purifies the blood, moistens the intestines, reduces fatigue and depression. Cancer preventative, decongestant, radio-protective properties, emmenagogue, prevents gallstones, antioxidant.
Beetroot juice alleviates constipation, disorders of the bladder, lumbago, ailments of the nervous system, amenorrhea and gallstones, aids in liver detoxification and blood cleansing, good brain food and for treating fatigue, alleviates jaundice and gout.
There are two methods for cooking beets. Boiling is the fastest way, but many think that beets lose some of their earthy taste that way. To prepare them, wash away excess dirt and cut off the leaves, if the leaves are crisp and in good condition you can cook them separately as you would cook chard or any other leafy green. Leave an inch of stem attached to each beet so it doesn't bleed its colour into the water. Put beets in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a dash of salt/vinegar and bring to a boil. Simmer the beets, covered, until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Drain partially, add cool water to the pot and peel the beets while they are warm but not hot.
For baking, preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F). Place beets in a pan, add about an inch of water, cover the pan very tightly with foil and bake until tender, about an hour, maybe longer. When the skin on the beets is wrinkled and pulls away easily, the beets are ready and can be peeled. Make sure to let them cool before peeling.
Cooking time varies depending on size.