At times selecting root vegetables can be a task, especially beetroots, as its skin is a dark maroon and hides any blemishes easily. The rich maroon flesh of this root vegetable is naturally sweet and nutritious. As an added bonus, the leaves are also edible and can be prepared as in spinach.
Beetroots should be small and firm to the touch and sans an unblemished skin. The leaves should be bright green. Large beetroots have a woody centre, tough to boil and therefore should be avoided. Small beetroots are sweeter, tender and easy to boil. Do not buy beetroots that don’t have their leaves on, as it is an indication that the beetroot is old.
As soon as you get home, trim the leaves two inches from the root of the beetroot. Do not trim the tail. Store the leaves in a separate plastic bag and use within two days. Cooked or canned beetroots may be refrigerated up to one week.
- Gently wash beetroots. You need the skin to remain intact for cooking.
- Choose beets of uniform size to promote even cooking.
- To retain nutrients and colour, boil, bake or steam without peeling first. The skin will easily rub off under cold running water after they are cooked.
- If you must peel before cooking, a swivel vegetable peeler works better than a paring knife.
- For best flavor, bake beets instead of boiling or steaming. Wrap them in foil to avoid staining.
- To remove beet juice from fingers, rub with wet salt and lemon juice and then wash with soap and water. For cutting boards and plastic containers, use a bleach solution.
- 1 tablespoon of vinegar added to beet cooking water will not only reduce the odour of the cooking beets, but also help them retain their bright colour.
- Beets are naturally high in sodium, so no salt is necessary in the cooking water.
Recipe for Beetroot Salad
250 g Beetroots,
2 Large Onions (sliced)
4 Green Chillies (cut finely)
1 tsp Mc Currie Crushed Pepper
1 tbspn finely cut Mc Currie Curry Leaves
Mc Currie Salt to Taste
Boil the Beetroot and cut lengthwise. Sliced the onions finely along with the green chillies and mix in the pepper, curry leaves and salt. Add this mixture to the finely cut beetroot and mix well. Refrigerate until necessary for consumption.