Beetroot is a cultivated variety of the Beet. The red roots are eaten as a cooked vegetable or are used in salads.
Beta vulgaris vulgaris convar. vulgaris var. vulgaris
Basic information and facts
The beetroot is a variety of the beet which is native in the mediterranean area.
Beetroots are grown worldwide.
Annual, biennial, or perennial:
Beetroots are biennial plants but grown as annuals for their roots which are edible.
The leaves are glossy, with a mid-green color. They have bright red veins and dark red stalks, which originate from the root.
Different varieties have different shaped roots. They can be spherical or have a longer shape, just like parsnips. Inside, the roots have a bright red or purple color.
Climate and weather:
Cultivated in a wide range of climates. Beetroot is grown as a warm season crop in temperate climates or during the cooler months in tropical climates.
Pollinated by wind and by insects
Some plants will be mature with a height of 10 cm but some varieties can reach 30 cm.
Type of soil:
Beetroot like soil with pH of 6.5-7.5 and with good levels of phosphorous and potassium.
The plants need a lot of sunlight.
Grow in rows about 25-30 cm apart. Distance within the row is 7-10 cm.
Propagation is done through seeds.
Pests and diseases:
Relatively free from pests and diseases..
Can be easily harvested by hand; grab the leaves and pull out the roots.
The red roots can be grilled, boiled or roasted, but are also eaten cold as a salad (after cooking) dressed with some oil and vinegar. The roots can also be eaten raw and shredded. The leaves of beetroot are also edible (boiled or steamed) and taste a bit like spinach.
Betanin, extreacted from beetroots, can be used as a red food colorant.