When I was a student, I had the idea that eating beetroot would increase my haemoglobin or keep it at a healthy level. In fact, many people are of the belief that beetroot is good for the blood. This is not correct. Of course beetroot is good for you but it is not high in iron so it will not help prevent anaemia, which many believe it will do. Beetroot’s main benefits are that it contains no fat, very few calories and is a great source of fibre. It is widely used as a vegetable all over the world.
Beetroot has for many years been used as a treatment for cancer in Europe. Specific anti-carcinogens are bound to the red colouring matter which supposedly helps fight against cancer and beetroot also increases the uptake of oxygen by as much as 400 percent. Additional studies are taking place to add support to these claims. The green leafy part of the beetroot is also of nutritional value containing beta-carotene and other plant pigments. The latter function as antioxidants. This part of the beetroot also contains lots of folate, iron, potassium and some vitamin C. The roots and greens therefore are great for women in general and for those planning pregnancy. Try eating the leaves and stalk boiled or steamed and accompany with other more flavourful vegetables like onions and garlic. Or chop finely and add to stir-fries.
Beetroot can be eaten raw. You just need to peel it and it’s ready to use. Beetroot can add a refreshing touch to a salad, a sandwich (try it with cheese!) or as an accompaniment to other vegetables. I prefer having it thinly sliced and mixed with onion rings with a dash of lemon juice and salt. This is a nice, crunchy, pink-hued salad! Otherwise grate it finely to add to other vegetables. Or try adding a teaspoon or so of finely grated beetroot to a chilled glass of fresh orange juice. It’s refreshing! Plain grated beetroot is great on burgers.
Usually when you buy fresh beetroot it will still have the leaves and stalks attached. To cook the beetroot simply cut off the stalks but make sure you leave some of the stalk intact. By doing this it will help to stop the beetroot from losing it’s colour when you cook it and helps to hold in the nutrients. Beetroot can be steamed or cooked in boiling water. Cooking time can be from twenty to thirty minutes depending on the size of the beetroot. Test the beetroot with a skewer: when it’s soft, remove it from the heat and cool it under running water – this will make the skin easier to remove for serving.
You can serve cooked beetroot: as a hot vegetable accompaniment to a meal; or allow it to cool and slice it to put it in a sandwich with cucumber slices and tomato slices. You can also try this: cut beetroot into cubes and stir-fry it with some steamed cubed potatoes and pumpkin. Add a little garlic and some diced onions – this makes a delicious vegetable dish to serve with the rest of your meal.
I personally also enjoy the flavour of fresh beetroot in a soup. It is deliciously refreshing and lifts the soup out of the ordinary. You can either serve the soup hot or chilled. In fact the Russians have a popular soup called borsch which is a thick, purple broth of beetroot, potatoes, carrots, onions and cabbage.
To start with here are some recipes using beetroot that paint your palate red!
You could also watch this video of a simple paneer parantha glammed up and made more nutritious with beetroot.
Paneer Beetroot Parantha
Till then happy cooking happy eating and do not forget to share your thoughts and suggestions with us, because that is where the real inspiration comes from!