Beetroot or also known as ‘Ubi bit merah’ here in Malaysia, is actually one of the healthiest vegetables around – something not everyone knows. You might have seen this deep red or rich purple colour vegetable but have not paid any attention at all. Some of us have seen it on the fruit stands and might even have ordered an ABC juice once or twice. But do you really know the benefits of eating or drinking a beetroot and can it really be eaten raw? Find out more about beetroot in this article and learn some interesting facts like the connection between beetroot and cupcakes.
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 metabolism, and is believed to help lower blood pressure. But there’s more, it also offers protection against heart attacks, strokes and vascular disorders, when consumed regularly. All in all, that’s pretty impressive, so it’s definitely worth placing a spotlight on.
Well, let’s get down to our main question: Can beetroot be eaten and enjoyed raw? Of course, as a matter of fact 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, or even a juice sounds good.
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 in a Liebherr BioFresh compartment it will keep for up to 18 days.
Beetroot leaves – healthy and delicious
What are the beetroot’s leaves 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! One thing you might try is sautéing beetroot leaves with tomatoes – check out our delicious recipe below.
Recipe: Sautéed beetroot leaves
600 g beetroot leaves with stems
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp vegetable oil
300 g tomatoes
125 ml vegetable stock
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 among the leaves in the pan to warm through. Adjust seasoning and serve.
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 main dishes – and it 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!
And finally, if you would like to serve up something really quick and easy but also nutritious, check out the ABC juice recipe below.
Recipe: ABC Juice
1 large apple
1 medium beetroot
1 large carrot
Wash the vegetables and fruit accordingly. Peel the beetroot and slice into small pieces, slice the apple and carrot too. Blend the vegetables and fruit into a juicer, you may choose to add water or ice cubes to reduce the consistency. Pour the juice into a glass and voila, enjoy your own ABC juice drink!
Tip: Add in some honey or lime juice based on your taste preference.
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 it to something special?!
What’s your favourite way to eat beetroot? Please write and share it with us! Use the Comment function below this post or discuss it with us on Facebook.