Beetroot – Perfect seasonal produce to eat now

Superfood beetroot. Time to eat it right now

Seasonal produce that deserves a special spot in your garden and on your plate – beetroot. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just getting started, beetroot is a fantastic choice for your seasonal garden. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to grow and cook seasonal beetroot in the UK, and we’ll dive into the impressive health benefits that this colourful root veggie brings to the table.

Growing seasonal produce in the UK

Beetroot, or simply “beets,” is the perfect seasonal produce to eat right now, making them a perfect fit for British gardens. Let’s walk through the steps of growing your very own beetroot:

  1. Choosing the Right Variety: Start by picking a beetroot variety that tickles your taste buds. You’ve got options like ‘Boltardy’ for reliable performance or ‘Chioggia’ for its eye-catching red-and-white-striped flesh. Choose the one that suits your taste and garden conditions.
  2. Preparing the Soil: Beets thrive in soil that drains well and is rich in nutrients. Boost your garden bed’s health by adding some organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure to improve the soil’s structure and moisture-holding capacity.
  3. Sowing Seeds: Plant your beetroot seeds from early spring through to mid-summer. Plant them about 2.5cm (1 inch) deep and keep them 10-15cm (4-6 inches) apart in rows. Once the seedlings reach a few centimetres in height, thin them out to ensure proper spacing.
  4. Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but don’t let it get waterlogged. Even watering is key to prevent your beetroots from turning tough or woody.
  5. Thinning and Weeding: Regularly thin out your seedlings so they have enough room to grow. Regular weeding will help avoid competition for nutrients and sunlight.
  6. Harvesting: Beetroot is usually ready for picking 8-10 weeks after planting. They should be about the size of a golf ball. To harvest, simply grab the leaves and give a gentle pull to unearth your beetroot.

Health Benefits of Beetroot

Beetroot isn’t just a culinary delight; it’s a nutritional powerhouse too. Here are some of the incredible health perks it brings:

  1. Packed with Antioxidants: Beetroot contains powerful antioxidants like betalains and vitamin C, which help battle oxidative stress and lower the risk of chronic diseases.
  2. Heart Health: The nitrates in beetroot can help reduce blood pressure and promote a healthier heart. They widen blood vessels, boosting blood flow.
  3. Boosted Athletic Performance: Some studies suggest that a sip of beetroot juice can enhance your workout by improving oxygen use and stamina.
  4. Gut-Friendly: Beetroot is rich in dietary fibre, aiding digestion and promoting a happy gut.
  5. Nutrient Goodness: It’s a solid source of essential nutrients such as folate, potassium, and iron, all crucial for your overall well-being.

Cooking with Beetroot

After your seasonal produce harvest, it’s time to enjoy that earthy sweetness in your kitchen. Here are some tasty ways to make the most of your beetroot:

  1. Roasted Beetroot: Give peeled and diced beetroots a toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast them in the oven until they’re tender and caramelised. Serve them as a side dish or on top of a salad.
  2. Beetroot Soup: Whip up a velvety beetroot soup by blending cooked beetroots with vegetable broth, onions, and a hint of cream. Finish it off with fresh herbs and a dollop of yogurt.
  3. Pickled Beetroot: Keep that vibrant colour and flavour by pickling your beetroots with vinegar and spices. These make a cracking addition to sandwiches or as a tangy side.
  4. Beetroot Salad: Combine thinly sliced raw beetroots with ingredients like feta cheese, arugula, walnuts, and a zesty citrus vinaigrette for a refreshing salad.

Growing and cooking seasonal beetroot in the UK is a real treat, offering both culinary joy and a bunch of health benefits. So, roll up your sleeves, get your hands in the soil, and enjoy the rewards of cultivating this gem of the garden right in your own backyard. Whether you’re roasting, pickling, or blending into a vibrant soup, beetroot is a versatile ingredient that can take your meals to the next level and keep you in tip-top shape. Happy gardening and bon appétit!