Apparently there’s more to beetroot than purple stains on your fingers. Beetroot, a root vegetable, is a member of the spinach family and the most common variety is known by its dark red colour. Glorious potent antioxidants are responsible for the vibrant colours of the beetroot, and can be maintained by keeping the skins, root and 2-3 cm of the stalks of the beets on while boiling. Alternatively you can choose cooking methods such as steaming or roasting and for older children and adults beetroot can even be eaten raw, sliced finely or grated through salads. Beetroots, especially their green leafy stems, are a good source of folic acid, essential in the early weeks of pregnancy, necessary for growth and development in young children and for the formation of red blood cells. Some children begin eating beetroot around 8-10 months of age, and often they love the sweet flavour. While canned beetroot is fine to use we recommend you use it fresh. It can take a bit of extra time to prepare but it’s simple to do and freezes well, so well worth the effort.
- Place fresh beetroot on a chopping board and remove the leaves and stems (leaving around 2cms of stem attached). Wash the beetroot under cold running water and gently rub the skin to remove dirt.
- Boil for around 30 – 50 minutes depending on size. Test beetroot with a skewer (it should be tender). Cool each beetroot under running water, and use your fingers to remove the skin.
- Steam for around 30 – 50 minutes depending on size. Test beetroot with a skewer (it should be tender) Cool each beetroot under running water, and use your fingers to remove the skin.
- Wrap each beetroot in foil to retain nutrients and bake in an oven set at 180oC for around 45 minutes. Peel away skin before eating.
- (For babies) cooked and pureed or mashed beetroot can be mixed with potato, sweet potato or even natural yoghurt.
- Older children and adults can enjoy peeled raw beetroot sliced finely or grated through salads.
- The green leafy stems can be steamed or even stir-fried. Small young leaves are great for use in salads.
Chicken and vegetable red rice
Beetroot and pear risotto
Beetroot polenta chips
Beetroot oven baked crisps
- Keep beets in an airy cupboard or in the fridge crisper in a vegetable storage bag for up to 2 weeks.
- The leaves and stems can be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge and used within 2 days.
- Below is a general guide when the food is stored in appropriate freezer containers (reduce freezer burn)
|Egg yolks||1 day||1-2 months|
|Meat||1 day||1-2 months|
|Meat/vegetable combination||1-2 days||1-2 months|
|Cooked fruits and vegetables||2-3 days||1-3 months|