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Healthy, delicious and adds a splash of colour! We’re celebrating beetroot.

It tends to go under the radar a little bit, but there’s a wonderful purple vegetable which has all of the characteristics to thrive and grow in the British Isle’s unique climate and that’s the good, old Beetroot. It doesn’t seem to be quite so popular among the younger generation, but they’ll discover in time that it’s great roasted, in crisp form, in a salad for a bit of bang, in a burger, pickled for the future, or if you want something unique, use it for Kimchi. It’s really brilliant for this as it has a lot of natural sugar and yeast perfect for helping break down other veg which it’s in with.

Not only is it delicious but it’s got some interesting medicinal properties too. One we all need given this year is lowering blood pressure, but it’s also good for cleansing the liver and helping keep away the C word because it’s packed with anti oxidants. It contains a natural chemical present in many anti-depressants. Our favourite though, is that it’s a great test of the quality of your stomach acid. If water comes out pink after eating beetroot you are in a good condition!

To build on that, here are this week’s beetroot facts!

    1. Bet you didn’t know it, but beetroot is a Hangover cure. Beta cyanin, the pigment that gives beetroot its colour, is an antioxidant so the humble beetroot could be the key to beating your hangover. Beta cyanin speeds up detoxification in your liver, which enables your body to turn the alcohol into a less harmful substance that can be excreted quicker than normal.
    2. You may want to know this or not nut beetroot is also known as an aphrodisiac – One of earliest known benefits of beetroot is its use as an aphrodisiac during the Roman times (maybe that’s why The Lupanare, the official brothel of Pompeii, which still stands, has its walls adorned with pictures of beetroots). Sceptical? It is not all folklore as beetroot contains high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
    3. Beetroot also contains betaine, a substance that relaxes the mind and is used in other forms to treat depression and contains trytophan which is also found in chocolate and contributes to a sense of well being.
    4. Sugar rush – Beetroot has one of the highest sugar contents of any vegetable. Up to 10 per cent of beetroot is sugar, but it is released slowly into the body rather than the sudden rush that results from eating chocolate.
    5. Litmus test – You can use beetroot juice to measure acidity. When added to an acidic solution it turns pink, but when it is added to an alkali it turns yellow.
    6. Turning heads – Since the 16th century, beet juice has been used as a natural red dye. The Victorians used beetroot to dye their hair.
    7. Vanish – Beetroot is a water-soluble dye, and hot water seems to ‘fix’ the colour stain more, so use lukewarm or cold water to avoid staining.
    8. To cure the inevitable ‘pink fingers” when cooking beetroot, rub with lemon juice and salt before washing with soap and water. On fabrics, try rubbing a slice of raw pear on the stain before washing, or rinse in cold water before washing in a biological powder.
    9. Out of this world – In 1975, during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, cosmonauts from the USSR’s Soyuz 19 welcomed the Apollo 18 astronauts by preparing a banquet of borscht (beetroot soup) in zero gravity.
    10. Record breakers – The world’s heaviest beetroot weighed 23.4kg (51.48lb) and was grown by Ian Neale from Somerset in 2001
sliced wonder veg

sliced wonder veg

You can track down your fresh beetroot on our local food map or plan to grow some for next year! It stores well in a dry space or can be fermented (really healthy) with other chopped or grated veg, previous blog here. If you have a bumper harvest this year, you can always sell any excess via our Crop for the Shop scheme.

If you have a favourite beetroot recipe, then why not share it with us? For the chance to win a prize, please video your recipe and add it to KIS (Keep it Simple) Cookery. Please have a look at existing videos here and try and keep your video less than 2 minutes long.

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