Rumour has it that beetroot was growing in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in 800BC, and the Oracle at Delphi claimed that beetroot was second only in mystical potency to horseradish, and that it was worth its weight in silver!
The beet evolved from the wild seabeet, which is perhaps why Beta vulgaris was originally prized for its leaves, and not for its root. Romans described early varieties of the beet as being black and white and consumed for their medicinal properties, mainly as a laxative or to relieve fever. Beetroot contains betaine, which in other forms is used to help treat depression, and trytophan, the feel good chemical in chocolate – what a great combo! Apparently you can also boil in water and massage the liquid into your scalp to help prevent dandruff!!
We sell the more commonly used red variety Jannis and the pretty Chioggia, which has pink and white circles running through it. Sown in May and harvested until the end of October, beetroots need lots of sun to give them their characteristic sweet taste. Betanins, the natural red colourants in beetroot, are used in the food industry to colour a number of other things and help to make the red redder in tomato pastes, various sauces, jams, and even ice cream. Check out our recipe for a yummy brownie to chase off those autumn rainy blues….