All about beetroot

Beetroot is a healthy a delicious vegetable that has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the last 10 years. Different formats and flavours to choose from, cookery shows on TV and social media and well documented health benefits have all contributed. Beetroot is a world away from a pickled slice with a dollop of salad cream and droopy salad.

It’s all Greek to me

Although beetroot has been around since 3000 BC, it appears the Greeks were the first to cultivate it for its leaves from 300 BC. The root was kept for the Gods.

Victorian Cosmetics

Victorian ladies used beetroot juice as lip colouring, blusher and as hair dye, which may be where they discovered it might fight dandruff.

Crisp or Freeze

Baked raw beetroot slices make amazing crisps. Cooked beetroot can be frozen and keeps its flavour and texture. Raw beetroot does not freeze well.

Style over substance

The candy striped pink/ white and yellow beetroot look and taste lovely but only red beetroot has betacyanin, the element that may help fight some cancers.


{Beta Vulgaris}

Beetroot is a strong and resilient crop that mostly looks after itself. Because it doesn’t need many inputs from the grower, beetroot is easier to farm in a way that is sustainable and works with the environment.

Beetroot is the taproot part of the beetroot plant. The whole plant is edible although the leaves and stems are best enjoyed when the plants are young. The red beetroot we eat is one of a number of varieties of Beta Vulgaris which also include sugar beet from which sugar is processed.

In the UK, beetroot is grown on the fertile soils of the Cambridgeshire Fens – a traditional salad and vegetable growing area in the East of England. The Fens provide the perfect combination of fertile soil, sun and water to produce a sweet, full-flavoured veg. Beetroots need plenty of sunshine to get the sweet taste they are renowned for.

Beetroot is grown from seed sown in May. The crop is ready to harvest from early July up to October.

Fresh Beetroot
Fresh Infused Beetroot

At home in the North

Although, like so many crops, beetroot was originally domesticated in the Middle East, the vegetable is best suited to the cooler growing conditions found in Northern Europe.  

As a result, beetroot is an important part North and Eastern European cooking in Polish soups, Barszcz Zabielany or Barszcz Czysty Czerwony and Lithuanian cold soup for summer šaltibarščiai. Here are the Top 9 Eastern European Beetroot Recipes.

The cooked beetroot products available on our supermarket shelves are harvested when the beetroot is small to medium size. It is graded into different sizes and cooked in small batches to ensure quality. Medium sized beetroot are carefully selected and vacuum packed before being steam cooked to keep in the freshness.

The baby and rosebud beetroot take a different path. Following a Mrs Beeton recipe, some get a dash of specially selected mild malt vinegar to enhance the flavour and extend their the keeping qualities in your fridge. The rest of the sweetest baby beets are infused with quality vinegars and natural flavours such as sweet chilli.

Fun Facts

To juice or not to juice?

Did you know that eating 200g of cooked beetroot provides the same health benefits as drinking 500ml of juice? So whether you are juicer or a snacker you can easily get your 5-a-day with beetroot!

In the mood

One of the earliest known benefits of beetroot is its use as an aphrodisiac during the Roman times. And it wasn’t all just folklore. It has since been found to contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.

Head and shoulders

If you boil beetroot in water and then massage the water into your scalp each night, it works as an effective cure for dandruff. This may be because your head turns pink so no one notices the dandruff.


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