Beetroot, a local vegetable for our health

‘Crapaudine’, ‘Noire d’Egypte’, ‘De Chiogga’ … under its original and slightly exotic names, in reality hides a local vegetable well known to all: beetroot! And did you know that its delicious sweet flesh is also a real asset for our health?

Beetroot, a l
Beetroot, a local vegetable for our health

Beet identity card

Beet (Beta vulgaris) is a vegetable plant rustic which belongs to the family Chenopodiaceae. THE’species Beta vulgaris is divided into 4 types:

  • Betta vulgaris var. esculenta : vegetable beets (including red beets)
  • Betta vulgaris var. burp : fodder beets
  • Betta vulgaris var. very high : sugar beets
  • Betta vulgaris var. cicla : chard (perry, chard)

Beta vulgaris is cultivated for a very long time (archaeological excavations date its presence more than 4,000 years ago, in northern Europe). However, beetroot really seems to settle in cookbooks only during the Renaissance: we then appreciate its large root with a sweet flavor but also its leaves that we eat. like chard. But its real popularization in the kitchens of France is done in the middle of the 19th century, with the arrival of improved varieties.

The different varieties of red beets

There are many varieties of beetroot that are distinguished by root shape, flavor, earliness and shelf life. Among them :

  • ‘Bull’s Blood’ : variety early with dark red, round, slightly flattened root. Soft and sweet flavor. Ample purple leaves, good to eat.

  • ‘Crapaudine’: late fall variety, with a half-long, buried root, reddish black skin and red and sweet flesh, of excellent taste quality. Green leaves.

  • ‘Forono’: late variety with a cylindrical root, long and semi-buried, and ruby ​​red flesh. Very good taste quality and good conservation.

  • ‘Flat black from Egypt’: very early variety with rounded root and flattened bottom (almost placed on the ground). The epidermis is purplish red and the flesh dark red. Red brown leaves plume of green.

  • ‘From Detroit 2’: An early variety with a round root and red, juicy and tasty flesh. Good conservation.

  • ‘De Chioggia’: very early variety with a round root with red epidermis and white flesh surrounded by pink. Good sweet flavor. Good conservation.

The red beet season

Thanks to that long shelf life, beetroot is available all year round. However, the season starts at the end of spring with the arrival of early red beets. The full season for storage beets is in autumn and winter, from October to March.

How to choose red beets?

Beets can be purchased raw or cooked.

  • Crue, the beet should be firm and the skin barely dry. Prefer those that still have foliage, if it is not wrinkled.
  • Cooked, the skin should be moist and free from black spots.

To know : the bigger a beet, the more it is likely to be fibrous.

How to store red beets?

Floods: 1 to 3 months in a dark and cool place (cellar), or 1 to 2 weeks in the crisper of the refrigerator without the tops.

Cooked: 3 or 4 days in an airtight box placed in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator.

Cooked and sous vide: refer to the expiry date indicated on the packaging.

The nutritional qualities of beetroot *

Carbohydrates : 9.10 g per 100 g raw. Its glycemic index is moderate but its glycemic load is low.

The minerals : Interesting contributions of manganese (23% of the NRVs ** for raw beet and 15.50% for cooked beet) and potassium (16% of the NRV, raw or cooked).

Vitamins: 100 g of raw beet provides 50% of the NRVs in vitamin B9 (against 6.20% for cooked beetroot) and 8% in vitamin C.

Beetroot also contains bétanine (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective pigment), saponines (with antiviral and antidiabetic properties) as well as a large amount of nitrates with beneficial effects on cardiovascular health and oxygenation of the brain.

In summary, beetroot turns into a health superfood that is recommended in the form of (raw) juice to improve sports performance, boost memory and the brain in general – especially in seniors -, reduce blood pressure, improve blood circulation, promote cell renewal and functioning of the immune system and reduce fatigue.

How to cook beets?

Everything is edible in the beet, including the leaves, even if we cook, most of the time, only the root.

Crue : grated (Express beetroot and carrot salad with gomasio), in a salad dish, or in juice.

Cooked : it is often eaten with raw vegetables but it adapts to many other culinary preparations: houmous, Cold soup, pan-fried, vegetable casserole, and even Sands Aperitif !

Cooking time :

1 to 2 hours in boiling salted water (this may vary depending on the size of the beet);
20 to 30 min in the pressure cooker.
1 to 2 hours in the oven at 180 ° C (see recipe).
When the beet is cooked, the skin should come off.

Ready to grow your red beets?

To find out about the growing conditions for beetroot, click here: Beetroot.

Beetroot, a l
Infographic – Beetroot, a local vegetable for our health

* Sources: ANSES 2020 (Table of nutritional composition of Ciqual foods) / aprifel.com.

** VNR: nutritional reference value, formerly called Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)


Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by www.aujardin.info.

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