The Magic of Beetroots History

Beets, known as beetroot in many areas of the world, seem to be one of those vegetables you either love or hate. Beets, botanically-known as Beta vulgaris, are native to the Mediterranean. Although the leaves have been eaten since before written history, the beet root was generally used medicinally and did not become a popular food until French chefs recognized their potential in the 1800's.

The rich maroon flesh of this root vegetable is naturally sweet and nutritious. As an added bonus, the green leafy part of the beetroot contains antioxidants such beta-carotene and other carotenoids. This part of the beet also contains lots of folate, iron, potassium and some vitamin C.

Beet Health Benefits

Beet Root is a wonderful cleansing and nourishing tonic that builds the blood, particularly improving the blood quality for menstruating women. It also normalizes the blood's pH balance (reducing acidity) and purifies the blood by flushing away fatty deposits and improving circulation.

Further supporting its role as a blood purifier, Beet Root has been used to detoxify the liver and spleen and help to treat many liver ailments, including jaundice, cirrhosis and other liver diseases. Some herbalists use it to treat liver problems induced by alcoholism.

Beet Root is a great source of natural fruit sugar that is unlike cane sugar, which must be converted by digestive enzymes for the body to absorb it. Beet Root is already in a more easily assimilated form and is an energy creator and source of vitality to the human body. Beet Root is believed to be helpful in cases of hypoglycemia.

Important anti-cancer and anti-tumor breakthroughs have been demonstrated with the use of Beet Root. Beetroot has for many years been used as a treatment for cancer in Europe. Specific anti-carcinogens are bound to the red coloring matter which supposedly helps fight against cancer and beetroot also increases the uptake of oxygen by as much as 400 percent.

A very remarkable and successful program for reducing and eliminating many different kinds of malignant growths was begun in the 1ate 1950s, in Hungary, by Dr. Ferenczi, who used raw, red Beet Roots, and further clinical tests reported in the International Clinical Nutrition Review of 1986 claimed rapid tumor breakdown in lung cancer, cancer of prostate, breast and uterus with the use of Beet Root. Apparently, Beet Root contains a tumor-inhibiting, anti-cancerous active ingredient that some researchers think is the natural red coloring agent, betaine, but it has not been definitively isolated. However, because the root is non-toxic, it may be administered in unlimited quantities.

Beet Root is believed to stimulate the bowel and has been used to relieve
constipation. Used externally, Beet Root is also considered a cleanser that removes accumulated toxins from the body through the skin and has been used in poultices to draw poisons. It is also said to be good for glandular swelling and sore throat.

Beet Selection Tips

Purchase fresh beets only if the leaf stems are still attached to insure ultimate freshness. Avoid beets with scales or spots. Choose beets that are small and firm with deep maroon coloring, unblemished skin, and bright green leaves with no sign of wilting. The taproot should still be attached. Avoid large beets which have a hairy taproot. All those tiny roots (hair) are an indication of age and toughness.

Try eating the leaves and stalk boiled or steam and accompany with other more flavorsome veggies like green peppers and garlic. Or chop finely and add to quiches or stir-fries. The Beet makes an appetizing vegetable, plain boiled, stewed, or baked and a good pickle, and in Russia forms an appetizing soup - called Bortsch - the red root in this case being made to exude all its juice into a rich, white stock.

  • Be gentle when washing beets. You want the thin skin to remain intact for cooking.
  • Although beets can be eaten raw, they are generally boiled, baked, steamed, fried, grilled or otherwise cooked before eating.
  • Choose beets of uniform size to promote even cooking.
  • To retain nutrients and color, boil, bake or steam without peeling first. The skin will easily rub off under cold running water after they are cooked.
  • When trimming, leave at least an inch of the leaf stems attached and do not remove the root. The stem and root are removed after cooking.
  • For best flavor, bake beets instead of boiling or steaming.

Fresh beetroot:

Beetroot can be eaten raw. You just need to peel it and it's ready to use. Beetroot can add a refreshing touch to a salad, a sandwich (try it with cheese!) or as an accompaniment to other vegies...Try:

  • grating it finely to add to other vegetables
  • mix grated beetroot with raspberry vinegar
  • mix grated beetroot, grated orange rind and orange juice
  • plain grated beetroot is great on hamburgers

Cooked beetroot:

Usually when you buy fresh beetroot it will still have the leaves and stalks attached. To cook the beetroot simply cut off the stalks but make sure you leave some of the stalk in tact. By doing this it will help to stop the beetroot from losing it's color when you cook it and helps to hold in the nutrients.Beetroot can be steamed or cooked in boiling water. Cooking time can be from 20 to 50 minutes depending on the size of the beetroot. Test the beetroot with a skewer: when it's soft, remove it from the heat and cool it under running water - this will make the skin easier to remove for serving.You can serve cooked beetroot:
as a hot vegetable accompaniment to a meal; or
allow it to cool and slice it to put on a homemade burger.
Cut into cubes and stir-fry it with some steamed cubed potatoes and pumpkin. Add a little garlic and some diced onions - this makes a delicious vegetable dish to serve with the rest of your meal.

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