Beetroot evolved from wild seabeet, a native of coastlines from India to Britain, and is also a relative of the turnip and swede. Today beetroot is common throughout much of Europe and is used extensively in Scandinavian, Eastern European and Russian cuisine.
Beetroot is a rich source of potent antioxidants and nutrients, including magnesium, sodium, potassium, folic acid and vitamin C, as well as betaine, a substance that relaxes the mind and is used in other forms to treat depression.
Since the 16th century, beetroot juice has been used as a natural red dye and the pigment is often used to colour strawberry jam as well as to enhance the appearance of tomato paste, sauces, ice creams and other foods.
Tender baby roots can be grated raw in salads, whilst mature beetroot is better boiled or wrapped in foil and baked. It also makes a great earthy soup or can be a dramatic addition to cakes and puddings. In Australia and New Zealand, a true burger must contain a slice or two of beetroot!
Beetroots come in all shapes and sizes and, as well as the traditional dark red variety, lesser known varieties include yellow, white, and candy striped (with red and white concentric circles).
Reynolds’ supplier G’s is a family business founded by Guy Shropshire in 1952. It is now run by his eldest son John Shropshire. Based near Ely in Cambridgeshire, the company is committed to managing the entire process from growing through to production and marketing and produces a range of salads and vegetables. The factory is close to the main beetroot growing region in the Fens and employs up to 130 people in the summer season, producing 18,000 tonnes of beetroot.
Fancy using some coloured beetroot in a recipe? Try out our beetroot and sweet potato samosas with a tzatziki dip.