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For use in the kitchen

Many people only know beetroot that has been pickled in vinegar. In fact, however, fresh beetroot have an aromatic-earthy taste and can be used in a variety of ways in cooking. Beetroot is delicious as an accompaniment to meat, game or fish. It is a classic ingredient in North German Labskaus, and is also served with pasta, in stews and soups. The tubers are delicious raw as well – in herring salad or in combination with apples, nuts, fresh herbs and oil. Gourmets refine beetroot with spices like fennel and aniseed, horseradish, goat’s cheese, fresh berries and oranges, balsamic vinegar and red wine. A beetroot and mango smoothie is refreshingly different with ginger and a little lemon juice.

 

Plenty of healthy ingredients

Beetroot is low in calories and very healthy. The tubers contain plenty of vitamins including vitamins A and C; and B vitamins as well as potassium, magnesium, iron and folic acid. Its deep red colour comes from the secondary plant substance betanin, which increases resistance. Eating beetroot also supports blood formation.

Tips for cooking

Since beetroot stains badly when cooking, it is advisable to wear gloves and an apron. It is best to wash the vegetable before cooking it in its skin, because a lot of juice will be lost when it is cut. The leaves and root are not cut off, but simply twisted to remove. The beetroot should be tender after cooking for approximately 30 to 45 minutes in boiling salted water. After they have been plunged into cold water they will be easy to peel. If you are short of time, pre-cooked vacuum-packed beetroot in plastic foil is an alternative.

 

Purchase, quality and storage

Watch out for good-quality beetroot when you are shopping. The fresh tubers should be plump and firm and the brownish-red skin should be undamaged. Small beetroot are usually more tender than larger ones. Black marks indicate that it has been stored at too low a temperature. Beetroot will keep for two to four weeks in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator.

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de

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