The beetroot or beet is believed to have originated in North America, where it was consumed for its greens, and not the red portion, as it is today. The ancient Romans first started consuming the beetroot as food, and the tribes that invaded Rome passed on this tradition to the rest of Europe.
The popularity of beetroot skyrocketed in the 19th century, once it was discovered to be a rich source of sugar.
Over time has come the recognition that beetroot can treat illnesses related to blood and digestion. It is best consumed boiled, roasted or steamed. In Russia and the former Soviet republics, they like to have it in a cold salad, adding some tuna and dressing to it. It’s also a common ingredient in many variations of another Russian classic, the Borscht, a soup. It’s commonly marinated in vinegar and eaten as a pickle. The Italians also fry some spaghetti in it to make a vibrant red pasta.
Eat it this way
Beet and Onion Salad
• 400g beetroot, roasted and peeled
• 40g onions, chopped
• 40ml extra virgin olive oil
• Salt to taste
• Pepper to taste
• 60ml orange juice
Roast the whole beets with skin in an oven at 270 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. Once they are soft, check with a paring knife, remove from oven. Let them chill in the refrigerator overnight. Next morning, peel and dice them.
A dash of red:Beet and Onion Salad is a tasty way to stay healthy
Add the chopped onions. In a pan, take the orange juice and reduce it by approximately half.
Now mix the olive oil, salt and pepper into the orange juice . Mix all the ingredients at room temperature and then refrigerate. Serve chilled.
—Chef Willi Haueter, executive chef, The Imperial, New Delhi.