In the kitchen
Beetroot might arrived bunched with their leaves early in the season. Remove any stalks and leaves as soon as you can, or they’ll draw moisture away from the beetroot itself. The leaves can be eaten if they're fresh and treated like chard. Store the roots unwashed in the fridge or on a cool veg rack where they should last a few weeks.
Prep & Cooking tips
Beets will retain their flavour, colour and goodness much better if cooked unpeeled, especially when boiled. Give them a good scrub and boil or roast whole until tender, and slip away the skins to eat.
If they are big and time is short they can be peeled and roasted in wedges or sliced thinly and made into a dauphinoise-style gratin. Peel and wash well if grating or thinly slicing to eat raw. Wear gloves if you want to avoid stained hands.
Video: How to Cook Beetroot
1. Raw slaw
Add some peeled and grated beetroot to a slaw, and it will turn everything shades of pink and purple. A little grated beet dressed with desiccated coconut, chopped green chilli and black onion seeds makes a good side to a curry.
Blend cooked beetroot with some yogurt or crème fraîche until you have a vivid dip. Flavour with a squeeze of lemon juice or a dash or balsamic vinegar, a little warm spicing and some salt and pepper. You can add some chickpeas, tahini and garlic and make yourself a bright beetroot hummus.
3. Scandi salad
Boil the beets whole, with their skins on, in salted water until tender. Slip away the skins and slice into wedges, season with salt, pepper, oil and a little red wine vinegar. Dress with chopped dill and a little soured cream for a Scandinavian feel. This works happily mixed with a few boiled potatoes and sliced radishes. Perfect with smoked or pickled fish, too. You can blanch, cool and finely chop any usable leaves, fold them through for a flash of green.
Goes well with
Cheese (Cottage, Blue, Goat’s, Feta)
Dairy (Soured cream, Yogurt, Crème fraîche)
Nuts (Hazelnuts, Walnuts)
Moroccan spiced lamb with beetroot
Serves: 4 Total time: 1h 10 min
Beetroot, potato and horseradish röstis
Serves: 4 Total time: 1h
Beetroot & orange soup
Serves: 4 Total time: 40 min
Roast Mackerel with Beetroot, Blood Orange, Horseradish and Cucumber Salad
Serves: 2 Total time: 35 min
Serves: 6 Total time: 1h 15 min
Chocolate beetroot brownies
Serves: 8 Total time: 1h
In the field
Meet the grower: Neil & Gary Farley, Cullompton, Devon
Located on sandy land in Devon, the Farleys’ farm is perfect for potato growing – it’s their biggest crop at about 70 acres – followed by the root veg, beetroot and the artichokes.
These beautiful candy-striped beets are an Italian variety. Their appearance, ringed with magenta and white, is not their only virtue; they are particularly sweet, and tend to be a bit less messy in the kitchen than standard beetroot.
Under their red skin is a bright golden flesh which is sweetly flavoured and delicious grated into salads.