Don’t you just love beetroot roasted and steamed? Don’t forget its nutrient rich greens in salads. Beet is indeed gained back its popularity in the garden and in the kitchen. Would you believe that beets cultivation was way back second millennium BC somewhere in Mediterranean, spread to Babylonia and later to China? Yes, in fact, beets were important plant in ancient Greek and Romans. The Roman name for the beet plant was “beta” while the Greeks referred to it as “teutlion.” Beetroots are known for its red roots although they may also be yellow, pink, or stripped, creating a beautiful effect.
Scientific Name: Beta vulgaris (Amaranthaceae family)
Common name: Beet, beetroot or garden beet, table beet, garden beet, red beet
Red Beets, Golden Beets, Chioggia Beets (Striped Beets), Baby Beets
Plant Types: Annual, Biennial, Vegetable
Light: Full Sun
Special Features: Edible
- Direct sowing is recommended than transplanting due to root disturbance.
- Beets preferred loose, rich and well-drained soil with neutral pH. Plant them 2 inches apart in all directions.
- Beets are heavy feeder. Fertilizer: Composted Yard Trimmings, Water Soluble Veggie Plant Food
- Water regularly. During dry periods, water deeply and regularly.
- Use mulch to keep of the weed growth and to enhance soil water retention.
- Harvest beet greens when they’re 4-6 inches tall. Beet roots may be harvested at any time during their development, but roots larger than 1-2 inches in diameter may become woody. When harvesting beet roots, leave an inch of foliage on the beet top to prevent the root from “bleeding” during cooking. Store roots in the refrigerator at 40°F.
- Pests: Aphids, leaf miners, flea beetles for the leaves and nematodes for the roots.
- Beets contain small amounts of several vitamins and minerals. Beet greens are a good source of folate, calcium and Vitamin A.
- Rich in flavonoids, folate, manganese, potassium (glycemic).
- Garden beet is very low in calories (provide only 45 kcal/100 g), and contain zero cholesterol and small amount of fat. Its nutrition benefits come particularly from fiber, vitamins, minerals, and unique plant derived anti-oxidants.
- Fresh tubers contain small amounts of vitamin-C; however, its top greens are rather excellent sources of this vitamin. Additionally, the top greens are an excellent source of carotenoids, flavonoid anti-oxidants, and vitamin A; contain these compounds several times more than that of in the roots. Consumption of natural vegetables rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- The root 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, and magnesium.
- Since the 16th century, beet juice has been used as a natural red dye, even used to dye hair!
- In ancient times, the root part was not used for cooking but instead as a medicine for treating painful disorders at that time including headaches and toothaches.
- Red beets get their color from a pigment called “betalain.” Betalain is also responsible for the red color of Bougainvillea and amaranth.
- The Romans considered beet juice to be an aphrodisiac.
- Beets are sometimes used to make homemade wine.
- The Greeks presented beets to the sun god Apollo in the temple at Delphi.
- Some people are susceptible to “beeturia,” the passing of red colored urine and stools after eating beets. Beeturia is harmless but is often mistaken for the dangerous conditions of blood in the urine or stool.
- Borscht is an Eastern European soup made from beets that has been an important winter staple in countries like Russia and Poland since the 14th century.
- In Australia, pickled beets are commonly put on hamburgers.
- The commercial cultivation of sugar beets began in the 19th century in France and Belgium. Sugar beets are about 20% sugar while beets or beetroot are usually no more than 10% sugar.
Beets is surely proves its worth ages back. This veggie surely deserves a spot in your garden, don’t you think so?
Beets (Better Homes And Gardens)
Vegetable Profiles: Beets ( Grow It Eat It)
25 Facts About Beets (Eat This! Health Diaries)