Beetroot is actually one of the healthiest vegetables around the world – something not everyone realises. Most of the beetroot we tend to come across is a rich purple colour (though it can be white or golden) and has been cooked or pickled, but can beetroot also be eaten raw? And, is it true that there is a connection between beetroot and cupcakes? Read on to find out more, and to learn some interesting facts about this red root vegetable.
Beetroot has been on the scene as a cultivated vegetable and as a medicinal plant for some 2000 years now and, with high levels of vitamins, minerals and folic acid it’s long been considered a real cure-all. Beetroot stimulates liver cell function, aids digestion and the metabolising of fats, and is believed to help lower blood pressure and thereby offer protection against heart attacks, strokes and vascular disorders, when consumed regularly. All in all, that’s pretty impressive, so it’s definitely worth sitting up and taking notice of this often overlooked vegetable.
Well, let’s get down to our main question: Can beetroot be eaten and enjoyed raw?
If we are regular beetroot eaters, the chances are that we’ll be eating our beetroot as a cooked (steamed, boiled or roasted) or pickled food. That’s true regardless of whether our beetroot comes from the supermarket or from the restaurant; however different the preparation involved might be, our supermarket beetroot products and our restaurant-crafted beetroot salad have one thing in common: in most cases, the beetroot is cooked! So, does this mean that raw beetroot isn’t good to eat? On the contrary! With a high sugar content, beetroot is delicious eaten raw. What’s more, raw beetroot is even healthier than cooked beetroot – its nutrients are heat sensitive, and they are diminished during storage and cooking. So, absolutely the best thing to do is to take a fresh beetroot and enjoy it raw… in a raw beetroot salad, for example.
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Beetroot – a sweet treat too
So now, that just leaves us with the question of cupcakes. Obviously, there is a natural tendency to associate vegetables with mains dishes – and beetroot certainly adds a splash of colour to the dinner plate – but we can’t just leave it there because beetroot juice is also popular and it’s frequently used as a natural food colouring for… cupcakes, cookies, and pastries etc. So, there is a connection after all!
One small word of advice: Beetroot doesn’t only add colour to your culinary delights, it also stains hands, T-shirts and pretty much anything it comes into contact with. So, when you’re peeling and processing your purplish-red bulbs, think about wearing gloves and an apron!
How to keep beetroot fresh?
In order to ensure that raw beetroot keeps fresh for as long as possible, it’s best to refrigerate it. In a refrigerator compartment beetroot will remain fresh for up to 6 days and whereas Liebherr BioFresh compartment will keep it fresh for up to 18 days.
Beetroot leaves – healthy and delicious
What the beetroot’s leaves are good for? Anyone who’s immediately thought: ‘they’re good for throwing on the compost heap’ needs to seriously think again because beetroot leaves are much too good for the compost heap! They are a very rich source of important nutrients – much more so than even the root bulb, in fact. And, what’s more, they also have outstanding flavour. So, next time you’re faced with the decision, give careful thought to the destination of your beetroot leaves – and make it the pan and not the compost heap!
Recipe: Sautéed beetroot leaves
- 600 g beetroot leaves with stems
- 1-2 onions
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 300 g tomatoes
- 125 ml vegetable stock
- 4 eggs
Hard-boil the eggs and quench them in cold water. Next, thoroughly wash the beetroot leaves, and separate the stems from the leaves. Cut both into pieces about 3 cm long. Peel the onions and garlic, and chop finely. Then, heat the oil in an adequately sized saucepan, and sauté the onions and garlic. When the onions have softened and become translucent, add the beetroot leaves and stems.
Briefly blanch the tomatoes and quench them in cold water. Remove the skins and dice the skinned tomatoes into small cubes. Add the tomato cubes to the beetroot leaves, season with salt and pepper, and pour over the vegetable stock. Cook gently for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, shell the eggs and cut them into wedges; place them carefully amongst the leaves in the pan to warm through. Adjust seasoning and serve.
Hopefully we’ve given you some idea of the fun that you can have in the kitchen and at the table with the humble beetroot. Whether raw or cooked, beetroot can be prepared in all sorts of different ways – your imagination is the limit – so why not give it a try and turn out something special?!
What’s your favourite way to eat beetroot? Please write to us and tell us! Use the Comment function below this post or discuss it with us on Facebook.