Give Beets a Chance
Date Posted: 14.09.2012
"In October I'll be lifting a crop of 50 beetroot which I sowed in July. These will be stored in sand and will hopefully last us until March.
I've always found it curious that despite the fact it stores so well, fresh beetroot can be hard to source in the supermarket at certain times of the year -- particularly Irish beetroot. This is just another reason why it makes sense to grow your own.
It's incredibly good for you too, of course -- a true super food. The beta cyanin in beetroot can help detox your liver and reduce high blood pressure.
It's packed with nutrients like folic acid, phosphorous and magnesium and is particularly high in vitamin C and iron. Beetroot also contains betaine, which enhances the production of the body's natural mood-lifter, seratonin.
So, we come to the taste. If, like me, you've had an aversion to beetroot for most of your life, I'd encourage you to give it another try.
Steer clear of the slimy, vinegar-drenched beetroot in jars. Grow it yourself and pick it when it's between golf ball and tennis ball size -- I promise you it will be earthy, tender and delicious.
Now for the cooking. Don't boil the daylights out of fresh beetroot. You don't need to peel them either. I've discovered that the best way to cook them is simply to wrap four or five in a tinfoil parcel.
Remove the leafy tops first by twisting them off, leaving about two inches attached to the root, then give them a wash under the tap to remove any soil.
Bake them in the oven for 45 minutes or so. While they're still hot, simply run them under a cold tap and rub off the skin (it comes off easily). Cooked like this, they retain all the goodness and earthy flavour that would otherwise end up in the water if you boiled them.
Finally, a quick recipe. Cut your cooked beets into chunks and throw them in a bowl. Crumble some goat's cheese over them. Add a good handful of chopped walnuts. Season well. Add a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic and give it all a stir. Yum!
All we're saying is, give beets a chance".
Michael Kelly is author of 'Trading Paces' and 'Tales from the Home Farm', and founder of GI