Beetroot, the Wonder Vegetable

Arfer By Arfer, 10th Nov 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Diet & Nutrition

Apart from being a delicious and versatile vegetable, the beetroot has some very beneficial health properties.

Beetroot the Wonder vegetable

Not the most exciting of subjects, but a vegetable that has been underestimated for too long.

In today’s climate of recession and financial belt tightening, it is timely to mention food that can be grown at home very cheaply, in a confined space and with little or no knowledge of horticulture or gardening. The beetroot fits all of those categories!

For some reason a lot of people have an aversion to this beautifully coloured vegetable.
I can well remember taking a bunch of beetroot round to some Canadian friends who were on a visit to Australia and were staying next door. As I handed the bunch to my friend her young daughter indignantly said to her mother, “Mom, I hope you're not going to make us eat those!”

So what is it about this delicious vegetable that makes it unattractive for some people?
I can't answer that because for me the tasty beetroot is probably one of the easiest and quickest vegetable to grow and prepare for eating. It is also as versatile as the onion but has other benefits not found in an onion!

It is not a new vegetable, in fact, the Romans were eating beetroot over 2000 years ago, but as far as we know, only ate the leaves. The Russians have been eating beetroot for millenia, both the root and leaves, but it wasn't until the 1800s that the French realised what a delicious vegetable the beetroot is and it became popular in Europe.

Beetroot is an excellent provider of potassium. The leaves are not bitter- as most people imagine, but taste rather like spinach and are high in vitamin A, iron and calcium. I like to pick a few young leaves while the beetroot is still growing, to include in a salad. The leaves and stalks are also delicious steamed and used in the same way as normal cabbage.

So, how do you grow this delicious vegetable?

As I mentioned earlier, the beetroot is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in your backyard veggie patch. It can even be grown in a tub if you live in a high rise or home without a garden.
The seeds are easy to handle being quite large, so they can be sown in their final positions; bear in mind that each corklike seed can contain several plants and for best results it is advisable to separate the seedlings when they are large enough to handle.

I live in a very temperate part of Australia, where we do not experience the extremes of hot or cold temperatures and it is possible for me to get two or more crops in a sowing season. In the UK where I was born and raised, it is much cooler but beetroot grows readily through Spring, Summer and Autumn. In a tub protected from the weather they will happily grow to maturity, if you can wait that long!

Sowing

Make a groove in the soil about 2cm deep. Place the seeds about 2 inches apart in the groove and cover by raking soil over them. This is best done in early spring; depending where you live.

How long will you have to wait after sowing?

The time between sowing and the first tiny leaf appearing to break through the soil is known as the germination time and this can vary from 2 weeks through to 4 or more weeks in cold weather. Wait until they have grown 4 or 5 leaves before thinning and transplanting.

The thinned seedlings should be transplanted so that the final beetroots will have room to grow; about 4 inches apart. Unlike most root vegetables beetroot seedlings transplant readily, but keep them moist while they are at the seedling stage.

Harvesting

Beetroots can be pulled when they are at the golf ball size after about 60 days, but for the full delicious flavour wait another four weeks. At this stage they will be about fist size. Left any longer they will grow much larger, but tend to be woody.
Beetroots tend to push themselves out of the ground as they mature, so they are very easy to lift as only the roots are below ground. Grasp the leaves at the bulb and pull them from the ground. Wash any remaining soil from the bulb and twist off the leaves. Never cut off the leaves because the bulb will bleed and you will loose that beautiful, colourful and health-giving juice.

Beetroot and Health

Apart from being a tasty vegetable for salads and main dishes, the humble beetroot has some amazing health benefits.

I am not a doctor or any other sort of health professional. Facts about beetroot and health in this article should not be taken as medical advice. Much of the research about the health benefits of beetroot has been culled from the Internet.
I have been aware of the health properties of this extremely useful vegetable for some time but never realised the amount of information there is available – far too much to include in this article. Here are just a few facts to encourage your further research, should you be interested.

The beetroot is extremely kind to the human body below the belly button! God’s gift to the colon some say. It is useful in alleviating constipation which can lead to many bowel diseases including colon cancer and diverticulosis.
For men, it is natural remedy for prostate problems.

Other Health Information

It is a legendary tonic food/health food in Germany, Switzerland, Italy & France.
It is uniquely rich in chromium for fat reduction, muscle strengthening, blood sugar moderation, even temperament, youthfulness & longevity. It can be a general tonic for energy, regularity and immune support.
Beetroot leaves are rich in vitamin K and the antioxidant beta-carotene
Beetroot (juice) alleviates Anemia. Beetroot stimulates the production of Red Blood Cells. Beetroot (juice) alleviates Constipation. Beetroot helps to prevent Gallstones. Beetroot (juice) alleviates disorders of the Bladder. Beetroot (juice) alleviates many Kidney disorders. Beetroot prevents and possibly reverses some forms of Cancer: Beetroot helps to prevent Lung Cancer; Beetroot helps to prevent Prostate Cancer. Beetroot improves the function of the Liver by stimulating the regeneration of Liver tissue and by stimulating the metabolism of dietary Fats within the Liver. Beetroot alleviates Jaundice. Beetroot alleviates Gout. Beetroot (juice) alleviates Lumbago. Beetroot (juice) alleviates ailments of the Nervous System. Beetroot (juice) alleviates Amenorrhea (suppressed Menstruation).
Beets Contains these Substances: Betaine, Betanin, Calcium, Copper, Potassium, Sodium, Iron, Oxalic Acid, Succinic Acid, Fumaric Acid, and Folic Acid.

Culinary Uses for the Beetroot

The humble beetroot, apart from its therapeutic values, is a delicious addition to salads, both in taste and decoration. Washed and peeled it can be grated raw in salads. It can boiled, cooled and sliced or pickled in vinegar and spices.
As a regular dinner vegetable it can be boiled like a potato and served hot or cold.

And don’t forget the leaves. Wash them as you would cabbage, then slice finely; including the stalks, and steam. For added flavour, sprinkle with vinegar or Worcestershire sauce.

Enjoy!

Tags

Beetroot, Cooking, Culinary, Delicious, Gardening, Health, Main Course, Prostate, Salads, Sowing, Therapeutic, Vegetable

Meet the author

author avatar Arfer
PAUL ENGLAND, the eldest son of a minister, was born in the south-east of England in Essex during the Great Depression.

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Comments

author avatar Hally
3rd Aug 2011 (#)

great info,i never knew all ths health benefits.

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author avatar Petrerwanynyi
19th Jun 2012 (#)

The is a wonderful vegetable plant.

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author avatar Petrerwanynyi
19th Jun 2012 (#)

The is a wonderful vegetable plant.

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author avatar Lalith K Boyagoda
25th Jan 2013 (#)

Very useful article and Mark thank you so much for the information given

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author avatar Lalith K Boyagoda
25th Jan 2013 (#)

Very useful article and Mark thank you so much for the valuable information provided.

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author avatar Christy are
7th Apr 2018 (#)

I will include it often in my meal

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