Section through taproot
The usually deep purple roots of beetroot are eaten either boiled, or roasted as a cooked
vegetable, as a salad after cooking and adding oil and vinegar, or raw and shredded, either alone or
combined with any salad vegetable. A large proportion of the commercial production is processed into
boiled and sterilized beets or into pickles. In Eastern Europe, beet soup, such as borsch, is a popular dish. In
Indian cuisine, chopped, cooked, spiced beet is a common side dish. Yellow-coloured beetroots are grown
on a very small scale for home consumption.
The green, leafy portion of the beet is also edible. It is most commonly served boiled or steamed, in which
case it has a taste and texture similar to spinach. Those selected should be bulbs that are unmarked,
avoiding those with overly limp leaves or wrinkled skins, both of which are signs of dehydration.
Beetroot can be peeled, steamed, and then eaten warm with butter as a delicacy; cooked, pickled, and then eaten cold as a condiment; or peeled, shredded raw, and then eaten as a salad. Pickled beets are a traditional food in many countries.
A traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dish is pickled beet egg. Hard-boiled eggs are refrigerated in the liquid left over from pickling beets and allowed to marinate until the eggs turn a deep pink-red colour.
In Poland, beet is combined with horseradish to form popular ćwikła, which is traditionally used with cold cuts and sandwiches, but often also added to a meal consisting of meat and potatoes.
When beet juice is used, it is most stable in foods with a low water content, such as frozen novelties and fruit fillings. Betanins, obtained from the roots, are used industrially as red food colourants, e.g. to intensify the colour of tomato paste, sauces, desserts, jams and jellies, ice cream, sweets, and breakfast cereals.
Beetroot can also be used to make wine.
Food shortages in Europe following World War I caused great hardships, including cases of mangelwurzel disease, as relief workers called it. It was a consequence of eating only beets.
The beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant, also known in North America as the table beet, garden beet, red or golden beet, or informally simply as the beet. It is several of the cultivated varieties of beet (Beta vulgaris) grown for their edible taproots and their greens. These varieties have been classified as B. vulgaris subsp. vulgaris Conditiva Group.
Other than as a food, beets have use as a food coloring and as a medicinal plant. Many beet products are made from other Beta vulgaris varieties, particularly sugar beet.
1 beet (2" dia) (82 g)
1 cup (136 g)
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.2 g 0%
Saturated fat 0 g 0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 106 mg 4%
Potassium 442 mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 13 g 4%
Dietary fiber 3.8 g 15%
Sugar 9 g
Protein 2.2 g 4%
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 11%
Calcium 2% Iron 6%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 5%
Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 7%
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