Hand drawn image of Beetroot

Beetroot

Beta vulgaris

The sweet, earthy bright purple root that adds a resplendent splash of colour to roasted root veg, gratins, soups, slaws and salads. Freshly picked beetroot is a world away from the vinegary pickled beetroots found in jars - give it a try, you may be surprised!

Image of Beetroot being produced

In the kitchen

Storage

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.

Easy ideas

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.

2. Dip

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)
Cumin
Herbs
Horseradish
Nuts (Hazelnuts, Walnuts)
Oily fish
Orange
Seeds
Vinegar

Beetroot recipes

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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.

    Read more

Seasonality

jan
feb
mar
apr
may
jun
jul
aug
sep
oct
nov
dec

Varieties

  • Picture of Chioggia beetroot

    Chioggia beetroot

    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.

  • Picture of Golden beetroot

    Golden beetroot

    Under their red skin is a bright golden flesh which is sweetly flavoured and delicious grated into salads.

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