Beetroot: the power of this healthy root

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The red root we call beetroot is packed with power. Grown in Switzerland, it thrives from September to November. Its high concentration of essential vitamins, minerals and secondary plant substances are excellent for the immune system.

Its journey to Europe

The winter vegetable is a cultivated variety and derives from the sugar beet. This should come as no great surprise, since beetroot shows an optical similarity to sugar beet. Although it's difficult to imagine at first glance, chard is also from the same family. Beetroot originated in the Mediterranean region and was brought to Central Europe by the Romans.

Beetroot strengthens the body’s defences

It's the high content of the red pigment betanin that plays the biggest role in strengthening the body’s defences. This secondary plant substance, which be­longs to the group of polyphenols, has an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect. Polyphenols protect the body from oxidative stress, reducing the risk of infection and protecting the immune system from damage. Other valuable components in the vegetable serve to reinforce this protective effect, as the body also benefits from significant amounts of vitamin C, zinc and selenium.

Storing the super power

Freezing

The autumn / winter vegetable can be excellently frozen for several months. First cook the intact, unpeeled beetroot in boiling water for 30 to 50 minutes. After cooling, the skin is easy to peel off. Then cut the beetroot into rough slices or small cubes to be placed in a freezer bag and stored directly in the freezer compartment.

Pickling

Homemade power straight from the jar? Beetroot is also ideal to pickle in vinegar, making a super simple option that is not only tasty but also adds variety. Pickled beetroot goes perfectly with raclette and makes a great addition to sandwiches or salads. What’s more, it tastes even better than store-bought varieties.

Fermenting

The process of fermentation has been known for centuries and is currently a real food trend. Besides the famous sauerkraut, beetroot too is perfectly suited to preservation by means of fermentation.

Why cool and dark storage is important

If beetroot is stored incorrectly, the nitrate it contains, which is harmless, converts to toxic nitrite. This is especially dangerous for infants who should therefore not be fed beetroot until six months of age at the earliest. A little lemon juice, or food containing vitamin C, prevents the conversion of nitrate to nitrite.

Raw, cooked or maybe juiced?

Purchasing the vegetables regionally and storing them in the dark ensure the highest levels of vital substances. The B vitamins and vitamin C in particular are best obtained by eating the beetroot raw. Long cooking or heating will only destroy these heat-sensitive vitamins. For this reason, a raw beetroot salad with oranges or a beetroot carpaccio are excellent options.

Caution with kidney problems

Raw beetroot contains relatively large amounts of oxalic acid. This is known to raise the risk of kidney stones. People with kidney problems or kidney stones are therefore better advised not to eat the vegetable raw. Oxalic acid also binds minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron to itself, which reduces their absorption into the body and can lead to deficiencies. But it wouldn't be a powerful vegetable if there were no solution to this problem: oxalic acid can be greatly reduced by boiling it in water. This releases a large part of the oxalic acid into the cooking water, which is then poured off with the cooking liquid.

Recipe: Beetroot poke bowl

Wash and dice the beetroot, keeping the skin on. Peel the onions, halve and cut into rings. Mix well with the cranberries, salt and sesame oil and lay on an oven tray lined with baking paper.

Bake: at 200 degrees for 30 minutes until cooked through.

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Vegan beetroot poke bowl: preparation takes around 45 minutes.

Ingredients (for 1 bowl)

  • 1 whole beetroot, washed
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 tbsp. cranberries
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 100g natural tofu
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil for frying
  • 60 - 80g cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbsp. cooked borlotti beans
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 avocado
  • sesame seeds

Tahini and lime dressing

  • 1 tsp. tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 tsp. soya sauce
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. agave syrup
  • juice of 1/4 lime
  • 1 crushed garlic clove (optional)

Method: Place all the ingredients in the above order in a bowl. Mix into a creamy dressing. Season to taste.

Preparation of remaining ingredients

Remove the tofu from its packaging and pat dry. Dice evenly and marinate with the spices. Fry on a high heat for 5 minutes in the coconut oil. Place aside.

Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions. Take the borlotti beans from the can, rinse and drain. Wash the spinach. Wash the carrot. Cut into thin strips using a potato peeler. Wash and peel the cucumber and cut into strips.

To serve

  1. Place all the ingredients decoratively in a bowl.
  2. Pour the dressing over the salad.
  3. Decorate with sesame seeds and a slice of lime.

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