Beetroot - Rengakura

Beetroot is a native of Southern Europe and has a vibrant crimson colour which comes from pigments no other vegetable has.

In New Zealand the roots are most frequently eaten, however, young beetroot leaves are sometimes available. Originally the leaves were preferred eating, rather than the roots. In some countries all parts of the beetroot are regularly eaten. Beetroot is frequently consumed pickled. Baby beetroot leaves may be found in salad mixes.

Several varieties are available with roots varying in shape from round to spherical. Flavour variations are very subtle. Golden and Chioggia beetroot are new varieties.

What to look for

Roots should be smooth with a firm skin and deep red colour. Avoid roots with scaly areas around the top surface as they tend to be tougher. Any leaves still attached should not be floppy and should be bright green with pink/red veins. Buy small quantities regularly to guarantee freshness.


Available: all year
High season: November to April


Store roots in the crisper of the refrigerator; it is not necessary to wrap them. Store young leaves in a paper bag in the crisper.

How to prepare

Trim root end and scrub. Leave skin intact until cooked to prevent colour loss. Peel when cooked. For salads, use raw or cooked, grated or sliced. Peel, cut to size and roast; young beetroot may not need peeling. When boiling beetroot, do not break the skin or it will bleed and lose its colour. Before microwaving, pierce the skin or the beetroot may explode. The skin is easily removed once the beetroot is cooked. Wait until cool and rub the skin off.

Ways to eat

Beetroot roots can be eaten cooked, raw or juiced. Young leaves can be eaten like spinach – boiled, steamed, microwaved, stir fried or used raw in salads. Click here for recipes.

Cooking methods

Boil, steam, microwave, roast.


Beetroot is a good source of vitamin B6, a source of dietary fibre, folate, niacin, thiamin and vitamin C and contains a dietary significant amount of potassium.

Nutrition table

BEETROOT Raw      
Nutrition Information        
Serving size: 1 cup = 136g       
  Average Quantity % Daily Intake per serve Average Quantity  
per serving per 100g  
Energy (kJ/Cal) 179/43 2% 132/31  
Protein (g) 1.9 4% 1.4  
Fat, total (g) 0.1 0% 0.1  
 - saturated (g) 0.03 0% 0.03  
Available carbohydrate (g) 6.9 2% 5.1  
 - sugars (g) 6.9 8% 5.1  
Dietary Fibre (g) 2.9   2.1 A source of dietary fibre
Sodium (mg) 76 3% 56  
Vitamin B6 2.49 156% RDI* 1.83 A good source of vitamin B6
Folate (µg) 37 19% RDI* 27 A source of folate
Niacin (mg) 1.2 12% RDI* 0.9 A source of niacin
Thiamin (mg) 0.12 11% RDI* 0.09 A source of thiamin
Vitamin C (mg) 4 10% RDI* 3 A source of vitamin C
Potassium (mg) 530   390 Contains potassium
Iron (mg) 0.4 3% RDI* 0.3  
Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ 
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs. 
 *Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)  
Source: FOODfiles 2018        



Ensure beetroot is clean and free of dirt. Display on refrigerated shelving to avoid wilting. Buy small quantities regularly to guarantee freshness. Do not trim the flesh of the root or it will cause the beetroot to bleed. Sprinkle with water before returning to chiller at night. Use QR code on labels.

Store at 0ºC with a relative humidity of 90-100%. In an acid environment the colour pigments are more stable than at a higher pH. At an alkaline pH the colour changes to a brownish-purple.

Purchase beetroot with the New Zealand GAP logo.