beetroot

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Also Known As
Beet, Table Beet, Red Beet, Garden Beet, Chakunder

Description
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.

Boiled beetroot
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.
Chopped beetroot
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.
Grated beetroot
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.
Sliced beetroot
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.

Culinary Uses
· 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.

Health Benefits
· A healthy food, beetroot is a rich source of natural sugar and contains sodium, potassium, phosphorus, chlorine, iodine, iron and various important vitamins.
· The high fibre content of the beetroot acts as a bulk residue, and helps improve bowel movement and prevents constipation.
· Naturally rich in pigments and vitamins which have antioxidant properties, beetroot helps prevent cancer.
· The water in which beetroots have been boiled proves effective for the treatment of boils, inflammation and even for skin breakouts like pimples.
· It has positive effects on digestion. Intake of fresh beet juice mixed with a tablespoonful of honey every morning before breakfast helps heal gastric ulcers.
· Research has linked the consumption of beetroot juice with lowering of blood pressure due to the high content of nitrates.
· 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.








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Pickled beetroot
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