What Is Beetroot?


What Is Beetroot?

Beetroot, also known as simply “beet,” is a vibrant and earthy root vegetable that has been enjoyed by cultures around the world for centuries. With its deep red color and sweet, slightly earthy flavor, it has become a popular ingredient in various cuisines and culinary creations. In this article, we will explore the basics of what beetroot is, including its origins, nutritional benefits, and various ways to prepare and cook this versatile vegetable. Whether you’re a seasoned beet lover or a newcomer to its many wonders, this article will surely leave you with a newfound appreciation for the humble beetroot.

What Is Beets?

Beetroot, commonly known as beets, is a vegetable that belongs to the Chenopodiaceae family. It is known for its vibrant color and sweet taste, making it a popular ingredient in various culinary dishes. The roots and leaves of the beet plant are both edible, offering a range of health benefits and nutritional value.

Health Benefits

Nutritional Value

Beetroot is packed with essential nutrients, making it a valuable addition to a balanced diet. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals such as folate, manganese, potassium, and vitamin C. Additionally, beetroot is low in fat and calories, making it a great choice for those watching their weight.

Antioxidant Properties

One of the notable health benefits of beetroot is its high antioxidant content. Antioxidants help protect the body against oxidative stress, which is linked to various chronic diseases. Betalains, the pigments responsible for the vibrant color of beets, are potent antioxidants that can help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body.

Blood Pressure Regulation

Beetroot has been found to have a positive impact on blood pressure regulation. The nitrates present in beetroot are converted into nitric oxide in the body, which helps to relax and dilate blood vessels. This, in turn, can lead to improved blood flow and lower blood pressure levels.

Improved Digestion

The high fiber content in beetroot promotes healthy digestion. Fiber aids in maintaining regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. Furthermore, the presence of betaine in beetroot can help stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, enhancing overall digestion.

Varieties of Beetroot

Red Beetroot

Red Beetroot

Red beetroot is the most common type of beet and is widely available in grocery stores. It has a deep red color and a slightly earthy flavor. This variety is often used in salads, soups, and roasted vegetable medleys.

Golden Beetroot

Golden Beetroot

Golden beetroot, as the name suggests, has a vibrant golden color. It has a milder and sweeter taste compared to red beetroot. Golden beetroot can be used as a substitute for red beetroot in various recipes and adds a pop of color to dishes.


Chioggia Beetroot

Chioggia Beetroot

Chioggia beetroot, also known as candy cane or bull’s eye beetroot, is characterized by its unique red and white striped flesh. It has a milder and sweeter flavor compared to other beet varieties. Chioggia beetroot is often enjoyed raw in salads or pickled for added tanginess.

Culinary Uses

Raw Beetroot

Raw beetroot can be grated or thinly sliced and added to salads for a crunchy texture and vibrant color. It adds a sweet and earthy flavor to any salad combination.

Boiled Beetroot

Boiling beetroot is a simple and popular cooking method that softens the vegetable and enhances its natural sweetness. Boiled beetroot can be enjoyed on its own as a side dish, mashed up, or added to various recipes like soups, stews, or roasted vegetable medleys.

Roasted Beetroot

Brings out its natural sweetness and intensifies its flavor. Simply coat beetroot in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast in the oven until tender. Roasted beetroot can be enjoyed as a side dish or used in salads, sandwiches, or as a topping for pizza.

Pickled Beetroot

Is a popular way to preserve beetroot and create a tangy side dish or condiment. It involves boiling beetroot slices in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and spices. Pickled beetroot adds a tangy and sweet flavor to salads, sandwiches, or cheese platters.

Beetroot Juice

This can be juiced and consumed as a nutritious beverage. Its vibrant color and slightly sweet taste make it an appealing option for juice enthusiasts. Beetroot juice is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and is believed to offer numerous health benefits.

Beetroot Recipes

Beetroot can be incorporated into a wide range of recipes, from salads and soups to dips and main dishes. It can be grated and used as a topping for burgers, shredded and added to fritters, or blended into a smoothie. There are countless creative ways to include beetroot in your culinary endeavors.

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How to Select Beetroot


When selecting beetroot, it is important to choose ones that are fresh and of high quality. Look for beets that are firm, smooth, and free from any major blemishes or damage. Fresh beetroot should also have vibrant and untethered leaves, indicating its freshness.

Size and Texture

Beetroot comes in various sizes, but the ideal size for cooking is around 2-3 inches in diameter. Additionally, the texture of the beetroot should be smooth and free from any soft spots or wrinkles. Avoid selecting beets that feel excessively hard or have a spongy texture.

No Soft Spots

Soft spots on beetroot can be an indication of spoilage or rot, so it is best to avoid any beets with such spots. Soft spots may affect the overall taste and texture of the beet and may also be a breeding ground for bacteria.

Vibrant Color

Fresh beetroot should have a vibrant, rich color, whether it is red, golden, or striped. Dull or faded colors may be an indication of older or less fresh beets. Vibrant colors are not only visually appealing but also tend to indicate better flavor and nutritional content.


How to Store Beetroot

Refrigerator Storage

To keep beetroot fresh, it is best to store it in the refrigerator. Remove any attached leaves and store the beetroot in a plastic bag or airtight container. This helps retain the moisture and prevents the beetroot from drying out. Stored properly, beetroot can last for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Freezing Beetroot

Wash, peel, and slice the beetroot before blanching it in boiling water for a few minutes. Once blanched, transfer the beetroot to freezer-safe containers or bags and store them in the freezer. Frozen beetroot can be kept for up to eight months.

Canning Beetroot

Canning is another method to preserve beetroot for an extended period. It involves cooking beetroot and placing it in sterilized jars with pickling liquid or brine. The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place and will stay fresh for several months.

What Is Beetroot

How to Cook Beetroot

Boiling Beetroot

Place the whole or sliced beets in a pot of salted water and bring it to a boil. Cook the beets until tender, which usually takes around 30-45 minutes for whole beets and 20-30 minutes for sliced beets. Once cooked, drain the water and let the beets cool before peeling or using them in recipes.

Steaming Beetroot

Steaming beetroot is another healthy cooking method that helps retain the vegetable’s nutrients and vibrant color. Place the beets in a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water and cover with a lid. Steam the beets for approximately 25-40 minutes, depending on their size, until they are easily pierced with a fork.

Roasting Beetroot

Roasting intensifies its natural flavors and caramelizes its sugars. Preheat the oven to around 400°F (200°C). Coat the beets in olive oil, season them with salt and pepper, and place them on a baking sheet. Roast for about 45-60 minutes, or until the beets are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.

Microwaving Beetroot

A quick and convenient way to cook, simply place the whole or sliced beets in a microwave-safe dish, add a splash of water, and cover it with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap. Cook on high for 8-10 minutes, or until the beets are fork-tender.

Apple Cider

How Long to Boil Beetroot

Boiling Time for Whole Beetroot

When boiling whole beetroot, the cooking time can range from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size and freshness of the beets. Be sure to prick the beets with a fork or knife to check for tenderness before removing them from the boiling water.

Boiling Time for Sliced Beetroot

Sliced beetroot will cook faster than whole beets. It usually takes around 20 to 30 minutes to boil sliced beetroot until it reaches the desired tenderness. Again, checking with a fork or knife for tenderness is the best way to determine if the beetroot is cooked to your preference.

How to Cook Beetroot with Vinegar

Vinegar Ratio

When cooking beetroot with vinegar, the ratio of vinegar to water is important to achieve the desired flavor. A common ratio is 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. However, this can be adjusted according to personal preference. Adding additional seasonings such as sugar, salt, or spices can also enhance the flavor profile.

Flavor Combinations

Beetroot pairs well with a variety of flavors. Some popular combinations include balsamic vinegar for a sweet and tangy taste, apple cider vinegar for a lighter and slightly fruity flavor, or red wine vinegar for a more robust and acidic profile. Experimenting with different vinegar flavors can add a unique twist to your beetroot dishes.

Cooking Methods

Can be cooked with vinegar using various methods. Boiling sliced beets in a vinegar and water mixture is a common approach. Alternatively, you can roast beets with a splash of vinegar to enhance their flavor. Pickling beetroot with vinegar is another popular method that adds a tangy twist to the vegetable.


Beetroot is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that offers a range of health benefits. Whether enjoyed raw, boiled, roasted, or pickled, beetroot adds a vibrant color and sweet flavor to a variety of dishes. With its high antioxidant content, ability to regulate blood pressure, and support for digestion, incorporating beetroot into your diet is a great way to boost your overall well-being. So, next time you’re grocery shopping, don’t forget to pick up some fresh beetroot and explore the many culinary possibilities it offers.




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