Eat the season: Beetroot

OFFICIAL TASTING NOTES

Species: Beetroot (beta vulgaris) is a root vegetable belonging to the same family as spinach and chard. Health benefits: They are highly nutritious and an excellent source of folic acid and fibre. Betacyanin, the plant pigment which gives the beetroot its purple colour is believed to suppress some cancers and the vegetable itself has high antioxidant properties as well as increasing your amount of white blood cells. It is not present in beetroots of other colours.

Usage: When cooking leave a short leaf stem at the top and don’t take off the root – otherwise you will lose the pigment.

Notes: Always look to buy your fresh beetroot with their green foliage and look for firm, smooth skins – wrinkling means they are not as fresh as they should be. Normally, you would expect them to stay fresh in the fridge for three to four days.

1. LIGHT BITE For an eye-catching light summer dish, use beetroot to create a delicious ‘pastrami’ and pair with artichoke and fig in a salad of wholegrain freekeh.

2. IN A PICKLE! Upgrade your standard cheese and biscuits to this goat’s cheese roll-up with oatcakes and pickled beetroot chutney, perfect served as a savoury afternoon snack.

3. SALT OF THE EARTH Salted baked beets accompany this delicious fillet of grass-fed beef and pressed cheek dish along with caramelised cep, heritage carrot and kataifi langoustine. What a stunning plate!

4. CREAM OF THE CROP Use heirloom beetroot to create a vegan panna cotta as the star of this colourful dish. Add pickled vegetables, creamed vegan cheese, a beetroot reduction and finish with a vegetable wafer.

5. ACT THE GOAT This goat’s cheese and beetroot tart is a visual treat and the perfect addition to a takeaway lunch picnic box. Swap purple beetroot for gold or candy striped for a more colourful affair!