Friday, 5 October 2012

Friday Five: Beetroot Brilliance

I read today that Australians eat more beetroot per capita than any other nation. I have a friend who describes it as the devil’s vegetable (I disagree- that is surely turnip) and another who uses it to make her chocolate cakes moist – no, I don’t know how. I have also heard tell that you can slice it finely and sautee it as a crisp. Personally, I would rather just buy crisps.

And I’ve never been a huge fan of the pickled variety. I do like pickled things – eggs; onions; gherkins; herrings; 40-something year olds in the pub on their birthday – but I think it’s a shame to do that to a vegetable with such inherent vibrant personality.

Aussies (and Kiwis) put it in their hamburgers to make them quintessentially antipodean apparently (and they also often add an egg, which is irrelevant to this post). This seems slightly odd as beetroot is originally a southern European vegetable and is now most commonly found in North America, Central America and Britain.

It has several health-giving properties and is a rich source of anti-oxidants, nutrients and vitamins. Obviously the colour is an issue – it will stain everything you wear or touch it with. Disposable gloves are a good idea, but opening the door wearing red-stained surgical gloves is not, unless you want to get rid of cold-callers of course. I find it also pays to remember you’ve eaten it either you will give yourself one hell of a health scare when you next go to the toilet.

5 Top Ways to Serve Beetroot:
  1. Roast it with other winter vegetables with a touch of olive oil and rock salt
  2. Turn it into borscht – I prefer it hot with crusty buttered rolls
  3. Shredded in a salad, with carrot, fennel, walnuts and feta; colourful and tasty
  4. Hummus – add it to the chick peas, olive oil, garlic, lemon, cumin and tahini for a spectacular dip or accompaniment
  5. Add it horseradish and ginger for a perfect pink addition to baked salmon