Beet

From Academic Kids

Beet
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A selection of beets (beetroot) at a grocery store
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Caryophyllales
Family:Amaranthaceae
Genus:Beta
Species:vulgaris

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The beet is a plant with a rounded fleshy taproot. Cultivars of the beet include

These are all related to the original Sea Beet, a maritime salt-tolerant plant of North West Europe.

Beetroot are cooked or pickled and eaten cold. The red color in the beet roots (betacyanin) causes red urine and faeces in some people who are unable to break it down.

Nutritional information (beetroot/table beet)

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Nutritional information

Beets contain good amounts of vitamin C in the roots, and the tops are an excellent source of vitamin A. They are also high in folate, and soluble and insoluble dietary fiber and several antioxidants.

Beetroot is among the sweetest of vegetables, containing more sugar even than carrots or sweet corn. The characteristic "earthy" taste of beet comes from the presence of the chemical compound geosmin. It is unknown whether beets produce geosmin themselves, or whether it is produced by symbiotic soil microbes living in the beet.

An average sized cup (250 ml) of sliced beets will contain:

  • Food energy 31 cal (130 kJ)
  • Carbohydrate 8.5 g
  • Dietary fiber 1.5 g
  • Folate 53.2 �g
  • Phosphorus 32 mg
  • Potassium 259 mg
  • Protein 1.5 g
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Sundried tomato tuna with baby beets.

Beet recipes include borscht.

Beetroot Colour

It is a popular misconception that the colour of beetroot is due to a pigment known as anthocyanin, the pigment in red cabbage. It is in fact due to the purple pigment betacyanin and a yellow one betaxanthin known collectively as betalins. There are other breeds of beetroot that are not the usual deep red, such as Burpee's Golden' with an orange red skin and yellow flesh and Albina Vereduna which is white. These have a greater or lesser distribution of the two betalin pigments.

The pigments are contained in cell vacuoles (holes). Beetroot cells are quite unstable and will �leak� when cut, heated and when they come into contact with air or sunlight. This is why you will inevitably get a purple stain on your plate when eating beetroot. If the skin is left on when cooking however this will maintain the integrity of the cells and therefore minimise leakage.

The pigment stabilises in acid conditions, which is a good reason why beetroot is often pickled. In the United States, it is the traditional colorant for pink lemonade.

Beet cultivars

Notable varieties of beetroot include

  • Red Ace, the principal variety of beet found in U.S. supermarkets, typical for its bright red root and red-veined green foliage.
  • Bull's Blood, an open-pollinated variety originally from Britain, known for its dark red foliage. It is grown prinicipally for its leaves, which add color to salad.
  • Chioggia, an open-pollinated variety originally grown in Italy. Its roots contain concentric rings of red and white flesh, giving a striking visual appeal when sliced.
  • Lutz Greenleaf, a variety with a red root and green leaves, with a reputation for maintaining its quality well in storage.


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