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.
All year but most plentiful November to April.
Store roots in the crisper of the refrigerator; it is not necessary to wrap them. Store young leaves in a plastic 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.
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.
|Serving size: 1 cup = 136g|
|Average Quantity||% Daily Intake per serve||Average Quantity|
|per serving||per 100g|
|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|
|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.
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