Also Known As
Beet, Table Beet, Red Beet, Garden Beet, Chakunder
Beetroot, informally known as beet around the world, seems to be one of those vegetables that one either loves or hates. The rich flesh of this root vegetable is naturally sweet and nutritious, and adds its own touch to dishes ranging from salads to soups. The edible leaves can be prepared in the same manner as other greens.
Remove the ends from the beet using a knife and peel the skin using a vegetable peeler. Cut the beet into thick slices. Cut the sliced beet into strips and then cut into squares pieces. Cube them as per the recipe's need regarding the size of the cubes, (for example, "cut into ½ inch cubes"). Cut the beet on a glass or nonporous surface to avoid staining.
Cooking the beetroot with skin on helps retain the nutrients. To boil beetroot, wash the beetroot weel. Do not trim the head or tail of the beetroots. That should be done after cooking. Boil water in a broad pan and add little vinegar. Vinegar gives the beetroot a bright red colour. Add the beetroots and boil till they are cooked. It will usually take around 25 minutes for medium sized beetroots to boil. Pierce with knife to check doneness. Boiled beetroot should be then cooled and peeled and further processed (chopped, sliced, diced) as required for the recipe.
Boiled beetroot cubes
Boiled peeled and chopped beetroot
Boiled peeled and grated beetroot
To boil beetroot, wash the beetroot well, without trimming the head or tail of the beetroots. Boil water in a broad pan, add the beetroots and boil till they are cooked but take care not to overcook the beetroots as it will be difficult to grate them. Cool completely and peel the beetroots using sharp knife. Trim the head and tail of the beetroot and grate using a grated into thin or thick shreds as per the recipe requirement.
Place boiled and peeled beetroot on a chopping board. Using a knife, trim off the head and tail of the beetroot and cut into halves. Now, make thin/ thick slices from each halve lengthwise. Holding all the slices together, chop at regular intervals breadthwise. Chopped beetroot is used in dry subzis, can be used for making fillings for cutlets, pattice etc.
Place boiled and peeled beetroot on a chopping board. Using a knife, trim off the head and tail of the beetroot. Hold the thick/ thin end of the grater on one hand and the beetroot on the other. Now place the beetroot on the blade and push it downwards using the force of your hands to get grated strands of beetroot. Grated beetroot can be used in grilled sandwiches, mysore masala dosas etc.
Place boiled and peeled beetroot on a chopping board. Using a knife, trim off the head and tail of the beetroot and cut into halves. Now hold one halve and using a knife, start slicing/ making cuts from one corner of the half to the other to get random semi circles. Sliced beetroot may be used in sandwiches, soups etc.
Beetroot can be steamed or cooked in boiling water for 20 to 50 minutes depending on its size. Test the beetroot with a knife; when it's soft, remove it from the heat and cool it under running water - this will make the skin easier to remove for serving or further cooking.
How to select
Select beetroots which are firm and small with fresh greens attached (if available in your area). The greens should not be wilted and torn. The beetroot should have a pale brown outer skin covering, should be smooth and free from any cuts, blemishes or other damage. Avoid large beets with hairy taproots. The hair is an indication of the toughness and age.
· The usually deep-red roots of beet are boiled and eaten cold in a salad after adding oil and vinegar. Try combining beetroot and dill along with a vinaigrette dressing for a refreshing chilled salad.
· In India, they are used in various sukhi subzi preparations, raitas, etc.
· In Eastern Europe beet soup, such as cold borscht, is a popular dish. It is served along with sour cream.
· Beetroots are gaining importance even on the roadside in India. Many street vendors make diet bhel in which you have an option of including grated beetroot. Apart from bhel, beetroot is also used in toast sandwiches and stuffed dosas.
· It is usually combined with other vegetables like carrots, radish etc and then covered in a brine made with a base of vinegar and spices. These act as pickled vegetables which go as an accompaniment for main courses.
· Use boiled and pureed beetroots to make dips, chutneys and juices.
· Betaines, obtained from the roots, are used industrially as red food colourants; for example, to improve the colour of tomato paste, sauces, desserts, jams and jellies, ice cream, sweets and breakfast cereals.
How to store
Store raw beetroot in zip lock bags under refrigerated conditions. Cooked beetroot should be covered with cling film and then stored in the fridge.
12 Health Benefits of Beetroot
1. Excellent Antioxidant : Beetroot has an important colour pigment called betalain, which has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and fungicidal properties.
2. Good for Heart : It also aids in detoxification, and helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. The Nitrates present expands the blood vessels making the flow of blood smoother.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure : Beetroots contain Nitrates which get converted to Nitric Oxide resulting in expanding the blood vessels and thereby lowering the blood pressure.
4. Good for Athletes and Energy Booster : Drinking Beetroot Juice is said to increase the blood nitrate levels and decrease muscle usage of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is the main source of energy to the body. Hence you have more energy left to train longer and harder.
5. High in Fiber : The high fibre content of the beetroot acts as a bulk residue, and helps improve bowel movement and prevents constipation. 100 grams of Beetroot provide 11% RDA of your dietary fibre.
6. High in Potassium : Potassium in Beets control blood pressure and sustain cardiac health. 100 grams of Beetroot provide 9% RDA of your Potassium.
7. Good for your bones and teeth : Beets are rich in Magnesium which helps in the metabolism of calcium and potassium and formation of bones and teeth.
8. Good for Diabetics : While Beets have a medium GI of 61, the Glycemic Load is only 5. Hence Beets will not raise blood sugar by a lot because the total carbs in it are low.
9. Good source of Iron : Beets are rich in Iron. If iron is lacking in the diet, iron reserves of the body are used. Once this supply is depleted the formation of haemoglobin is affected. This means the red blood cells cannot carry oxygen needed by the cells. When this happens, iron deficiency occurs and anaemia results.
10. High in Vitamin C : The most important function of Vitamin C is its immune fighting effect. It forms an important defense against cold and cough.
11. Good source of Folate, Vitamin B9 : Folate or Vitamin B9 helps your body to produce and maintain new cells, especially red blood cells.
12. Used to combat Dandruff: A decoction of beets mixed with a little vinegar can be used externally to cleanse scurf or dandruff from the head. To combat dandruff, mix some grated ginger or ginger juice into the beet water and massage into the scalp every night.
Glycemic Index of Beetroot
Beetroot has a Glycemic Index of 64 which is medium. Glycemic Index are for foods you eat, ranks carbohydrate-containing foods by how quickly they digest and raise your blood sugar or glucose levels. Foods rank from 0 to 50 are low GI, 51 to 69 are medium and 70 to 100 are high. Foods that are high in GI are not suitable for weight loss and diabetics. Foods like Beetroot have a medium GI but their Glycemic Load is only 5. Hence Beets will not raise blood sugar by a lot because the total carbs in it are low. So safe for Diabetics to use.