Saturday, 26 July 2014

Beetrooted Adventures

Beetroot is one of my favourite roasted veg and we have been eating quite a few baby beets simply roasted in the meat juicy pan and a sprinkle of salt, but here we will share other lovely ways to serve beets.

Beetroot bulbs fresh from the garden
Beetroots have long been used for medicinal purposes, primarily for disorders of the liver as they help to stimulate the liver's detoxification processes. The plant pigment that gives beetroot its rich, purple-crimson colour is betacyanin; a powerful agent, thought to suppress the development of some types of cancer.

Raw beets are an excellent source of folates and vitamin C and is also rich source of B-complex vitamins such as niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6) and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, potassium and magnesium.

Beetroot in the garden
Beetroot is rich in fibre, exerting favourable effects on bowel function, which may assist in preventing constipation and help to lower cholesterol levels too.

Beetroot fibre has been shown to increase the level of antioxidant enzymes in the body, (specifically one called glutathione peroxidase), as well as increase the number of white blood cells, which are responsible for detecting and eliminating abnormal cells. Beetroot is also one of the richest sources of glutamine, an amino acid, essential to the health and maintenance of the intestinal tract.

Beetroot is rich source of phytochemical compound, glycine betaine. Betaine has the property of lowering homocysteine levels within the blood. High levels of homocysteine in the blood result in the development of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and peripheral vascular diseases.

Other studies have looked at the effect of beetroot juice on blood pressure. A reduction in blood pressure is beneficial for the avoidance of heart disease and stroke. Studies state that nitrate rich foods like beetroot may help in heart attack survival.

Beetroot leaves in a salad harvest
Beetroot contains betaine, which in other forms is used to help treat depression, and trytophan, the feel good chemical in chocolate.

Beetroot Greens should not be overlooked in the harvest menu. The greens are an excellent source of carotenoids, flavonoid anti-oxidants, and vitamin A; They contain these compounds several times more than that of in the roots. Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision. Consumption of natural vegetables rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. They also provide dietary Protein, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus and Zinc, and a very good source of dietary fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.
Beetroot microgreens

Beetroot sprouts have a light earthy taste, just a touch different and neutral in combination with other vegetables. It is the fantastic colour that that makes all the difference on your plate. Mostly used to decorate salads, toast dishes and other snacks or stir fries. The sprout are rich in vitamins, amino acids and mineral salts, they are easy to digest and have a low calorie content. Eaten raw, they maintain all of their nutrient value.

Beeturia is a harmless condition of passing red or pink colour urine after eating beets and its top greens. The condition can be found in around 10-15% of the populations who are genetically unable to break down betacyanin pigment.

Beet greens contain oxalic acid, a naturally-occurring substance found in some vegetables, which may crystallise as oxalate stones in the urinary tract in some people. It is therefore; in individuals with known oxalate urinary tract stones, kidney stones, are advised to avoid eating excess greens.

Caramel Beets



12 fresh baby beets (don't buy canned!, the vinegar they can them in will ruin this recipe!)
100 gm butter
4 tbsp brown sugar (raw will do, rapadura/muscarvardo is better)
3 tbsp fresh cream

Melt butter in a small pan, Peel baby beets, add beets to melted butter and rigorously 'fry/cook'
In approximately 5 minutes when the beets are slightly softened add the sugar and allow to bubble, occasionally shaking the pot to stir (remember DO NOT WALK AWAY, burning sugar does not smell nice!) 
When the sugar has dissolved and reached the hard ball stage add the cream.

The most glorious reddish caramel savoury sauce occurs and, the beets just absorb it.

The beets were so luxuriously sweet and creamy they had changed from the slightly earthy tasting vegetables that bleed red all over the plate into a delightful sweet and savoury side.

Pickled Beets 1

ready for pickling

peel and slice beetroot, place in a large saucepan and cover with a bottle of red, half bottle of apple cider vinegar and a spoonful of honey. Adjust the liquid so that it covers the beetroot completely.

Simmer gently for until the beetroot feels tender but still crunchy.  The wine/vinegar/beetroot juice goes kind of thicker and darker and its done.

Put the slices into sterilised jars while hot then pour the hot liquid over the top and make sure there is no air bubbles, screw on the lids and as it cools, the pop tops will suck in.

Store in a dark cupboard - they keep for ages.

Perfect addition to a salad

Pickled Beets 2

see Pickled beets above but using rapadura/muscarvardo sugar  instead of honey and add cloves and peppercorns. I like to get them as babies (golf ball size) and have them whole early in the season and then do the sliced ones later so I have variety.

Beetroot Dip (so pink it's crazy!)



1 large fresh beetroot trimmed and well scrubbed
Beetroot dip as part of a platter
1 * 1.5 litres fresh home made natural yoghurt
(yes you can use greek if you want)
salt to taste
rind of half lemon finely grated

Place your yoghurt in 2-3 layers of fine muslin or cheese cloth tie up and hang until the whey stops dripping and the yoghurt is thick (this new product is called Labna or yoghurt cheese) 8 hours should be enough
Roast your beet in a hot oven until tender, peel and chop finely. Place all your ingredients into a processor and blend roughly. season to taste and serve.

* Reserve your whey for birchering oats

Beetroot White Chocolate Icecream



Beetroot White Chocolate Icecream
Beetroot White Chocolate Icecream
300 g fresh beetroot
4 x egg yolks
100 g raw sugar, milled to a fine powder
200 ml double cream
300 ml whole milk
100 g white chocolate broken into small pieces



Roast the beetroot in a oven proof pan with 1 cm water and covered with foil for approximately an hour or until tender. Remove and leave to cool.

Put yolks in a bowl with the sugar, whisk sugar and egg yolks until well beaten.

Heat 200 ml of the milk and all the cream in a pan to scalding. Pour milk and cream mix over egg and sugar mix whisking as you go.

Return custard to the saucepan and heat over a gentle heat stirring constantly until mixture has thickened to cover the back of a spoon. Take off the heat and pour into a clean bowl to cool. Stir occasionally to prevent a skin forming.

Custard for Beetroot Icecream

Melt the chocolate over a gentle heat.

Peel beetroot and chop roughly. Place chopped beetroot in a blender along with the remaining 100 ml of milk and blend until smooth. Add the beetroot puree to the cooled custard, mix and add the chocolate and stir thoroughly to incorporate.

Place the mixture in an ice cream maker and churn for approximately 45 minutes. Place the icecream in a freezer proof container and finish in the freezer.

serve with Beetroot and Chocolate Cake.

Beetroot and Chocolate Cake


Beetroot and Chocolate Cake
Beetroot and Chocolate Cake
180 g self - raising flour
75 g cocoa
1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
125 g beetroot, finely grated
125 g home made or greek yoghurt
1 Tbls fresh mint, finely shredded
3 x eggs, free range & organic
200 ml olive oil, extra light virgin
1 tspn vanilla extract
100 ml beetroot juice, freshly juiced
10 ml olive oil, extra light virgin
200 g dark chocolate, 70%



Preheat your oven to 180degC
Sieve the cocoa powder, self-raising flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir in the sugar
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, grated beetroot, yogurt, oil and vanilla extract until it is well blended.
Add the beetroot mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together and then pour this in to a pre-lined spring form cake tin.
Bake for 30 minutes or until it is springy to the touch and a skewer comes out clean.

For the ganache:
Place the beetroot juice and the olive oil into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Pour over the chocolate and mix together until smooth.
When the cake is cooked and cooled, pour over the beetroot ganache and serve with beetroot white chocolate icecream

Beetroot Ink - this makes a reddish-pink ink

1. Boil a couple of beetroots then either juice them using a juicer or mash then up and strain through muslin or a fine sieve ( if using a sieve you may have to strain more than once to get any fibres out).
2. While the juice is warm (if it’s cooled just reheat in a microwave or on a stove) add in a little gum arabic powder, stirring until this juice has thickened slightly.

Believed to have magickal properties associated with the feminine, Saturn, Earth and Love. Use as an ink in love magick, also as a blood substitute and for healing old wounds from the past.

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