The beetroot has been around for quite some time and utilized in a variety of ways throughout the centuries. The beet is thought to go back as far as Babylon and was known to be a commonly used vegetable during the medieval era.
This amazing root vegetable was cultivated by the Greeks and Romans for its medicinal property and as a culinary herb. Around the the 15th century, the beet was found throughout Europe and used as livestock fodder as well as a source of sugar when derived from the sugar beet. This was a favorite of the Prussians in the 1700’s.
In the 19th century, the beet was a popular home garden vegetable and the Shakers were one of the first large groups to grow the seed for commercial use. The beet seed was a big seller with mail order and listed in many, if not all, seed catalogs. Ladies used the beetroot for cosmetic purposes, such as a cheek and lip stain. Ever hear the phrase, “She was as red as a beet?”
So many great properties the beetroot has.
It has been shown to:
- Lower bad cholesterol.
- Gives you a boost of energy.
- Fighter of inflammation.
- Has anti-aging properties.
- Assists in healthy digestion.
- Great for cardiovascular health.
- Good for skin health.
- Friendly to your liver.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Help in blood sugar control.
The beet, also known as Beta vulgaris, comes in three major types:
- Beet – the common red root vegetable, or garden beet, we all know and love.
- Chard – also known as the spinach beet.
- Sugar Beet – high concentrations of sugar has lead this lucky beet to fame as commercial table sugar. In fact, 20-30% of the world’s sugar comes from the sugar beet!
Color-wise, the beet is famously known for its deep red hue, although there are others colors such as white and yellow, however these are not as common.
Tasting a beet is interesting to say the least. It gives you a flavor range from sweet to earthy and the geosmin, which is an integral part of the beet’s earthy, mineral flavor and scent is often a turn off for many people, whilst others enjoy it. I have to admit, although I am a great fan of the beet, beetroot juice, by itself, is rough. When I first tried it many years ago it’s intense earthy quality made it seem as if I was drinking dirt. What can I say? I was young and my palate was not as refined. I prefer to mix my beet juice with apple or carrot juice. Beetroot powder is not as bad and some brands are quite tasteless, really. These powders are perfect for mixing with yogurt, oatmeal, juices, etc.