Beetroot can appear in all shapes (round to oblong depending on the variety) and sizes (from a small orange to a grapefruit) and the colours can vary too from dark red through golden and orange hues.

The fresh leaves of the beetroot plant can also be cooked – cook in the same manner as spinach. Borsch is one of the best know beetroot dishes, although it can also be used in salads and of course the hamburger.

Look for beetroot that is smooth-skinned, with no splitting. Aim to buy beetroots with the tops intact, as the leaves can be cooked (but should be used within a couple of days of the purchase).

To minimise bleeding during cooking do not peel the beetroot and leave a portion (2- 3 cm) of the stem in place. Do not peel before cooking as it is the skin that holds the colour in and prevents bleeding. Boil in salted water or bake wrapped in foil or in a covered dish in a pre-heated oven at 180C. Boiling time depends on the size (30 mins for small, 45 - 60 mins for larger beetroot), baking time is between 1 - 2 hours.

Beetroot loves: goat’s cheese, walnuts, balsamic vinegar, beef, duck, asparagus

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