A native of Southern Europe, beetroot has a vibrant crimson colour which comes from pigments no other vegetable has.
Originally the leaves were preferred eating, rather than the roots. In New Zealand, usually it is the roots that are eaten, however, young beetroot leaves are sometimes available. In some countries all parts of the beetroot are regularly eaten. Beetroot is frequently consumed pickled. Baby beetroot leaves may be found in salad mixes.
Several varieties are available with roots varying in shape from round to spherical. Flavour variations are very subtle. Golden and Chioggia beetroot are new varieties.
Ways to eat
Beetroot roots can be eaten cooked, raw or juiced. Young leaves can be eaten like spinach – boiled, steamed, microwaved, stir fried or used raw in salads.
Beetroot is a good source of vitamin B6, a source of dietary fibre, folate, niacin, thiamin and vitamin C and contains a dietary significant amount of potassium.