Beetroot Nutritional Facts
While beetroot may be high in natural sugars, they are also packed with vitamins and minerals, which makes them a very healthy addition to any meal. In a cup of beetroot there are 74 calories, 0 grams fat, 17 grabs carbs, 14 grams total sugars, 3 grams protein, 3 grams fibre and 130mg sodium. They are also packed with potassium, with 518 mg per cup.
Beetroots supply the body with nitrate, a nutrient that can enhance exercise performance. They are also a fantastic source of antioxidants and they have anti-inflammatory properties. There is also evidence beetroot can help protect your blood vessels from damage and reduce blood pressure.
Basic Preparation of Beetroot
If you are not intending to cook your beetroot straightaway, you need to prepare them for storage when you take them home from the shops. When stored properly, the beetroot will last longer and have more flavour.
First, you need to cut off the greens, leaving at least an inch of stem attached. You should then wrap them lightly in paper towels and store them in a plastic zip bag in the fridge. This way they should last for up to two weeks. When you want to cook them, take them out of the fridge and gently scrub them to remove dirt. After washing, the beetroot can then be prepared according to the instructions in the recipe.
How to Cook Beetroot
Beetroot can be cooked in many different ways, boiled, roasted, steamed, grilled, etc. Each produces a different effect and you need to find the method that you prefer. After cooking, beetroot can be used in salads, to make hummus, blend into smoothies, and more. Here are a few methods to help you get started.
Roasting Whole Beetroot
When roasted, beetroots are very sweet with subtle mineral flavours. It can take up to an hour to roast an entire beetroot, so keep this in mind when planning your cooking. You can always choose smaller beetroots if you don’t have much time.
After cleaning the beetroot, dry them with a towel to remove excess moisture. In a medium bowl, coat the beetroot with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then wrap each beetroot in foil and place them on a foil-lined baking tray. Roast the beetroot at 400F/200C until they can be pierced easily with a fork. Depending on their size, it can take anything from 30 to 60 minutes. Then remove the beetroot from the oven, trim the stems and peel off the skin.
If you are in a hurry, then microwaving beetroot is a great option. It takes very little time and does little to diminish the flavour. Small to medium sized beetroot are best for the microwave as large beetroot may turn rubbery on the outside before the inside it properly cooked.
Start by placing the cleaned beetroot in a microwavable dish, add enough water to cover the bottom of the dish and cover it with cling film. You should then microwave it on high power until the beetroot can be easily pierced with a fork, turning them over once in the process, which is likely to take 12 to 15 minutes. When ready, let them stand for 5 minutes, remove the taproot, trim the stems and peel the skin.
This is a particularly healthy method for cooking beetroot as it allows the vegetable to retain most of its minerals and vitamins as they are not boiled out in water. Furthermore, steaming small beetroot is very quick and easy.
First you need to clean the beetroot and remove the stem and taproot. Then cut each beetroot in to 1/2 to 1-inch cubes or wedges. Bring a small amount of water to a rolling boil in a large saucepan and place a steamer basket in the saucepan so its bottom is above the water. Place the beetroot into the basket, cover the saucepan and allow them to steam until they are fork-tender, which will take between 10 and 30 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. Remove them from the basket and allow them to cool for a few minutes before removing the skin.
Boiling beetroot makes them very tender and reduces the intensity of the flavour. It is very simple to do. First trim off the remaining stem and taproot from the beets, place them in a large saucepan and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil before reducing the heat and then simmer until they are fork-tender, which will take between 25 and 35 minutes for medium sized beetroot and up to an hour for larger ones. Once tender, move them into ice-cold water and then peel the skin.
How to Cook Beetroot Greens
The leafy greens found at the top of beetroot are also edible. They are full of flavour and can be part of a main dish or a side dish. You should treat the leaves as you would collard greens, kale or chard. They also have a similar flavour, with an earthy, slightly bitter taste. You can eat the leaves raw, but they are delicious after being sautéed with garlic and butter. Another option is to braise them.
Simply remove the leaves and wash and pat each one dry. Slice the leaves and the stems, separating the two. Place a large frying pan over a medium-high heat with warm olive oil and sauté minced garlic. Add the stems and cook them for two minutes. Then add the leaves with 2 tablespoons or broth and cook for 2 minutes with frequent stirring. Simply season them and serve.