Beetroot was first cultivated by the Romans. By the 19th century it held great commercial value when it was discovered that beets could be converted into sugar. Today, it is a popular vegetable throughout the world of exceptional nutritional value.

Table or root beets are often sold in bunches, with their edible greet tops attached. In fact, the early Romans ate only the beet greens and used the roots medicinally.

Table beets are a deep, rich red. They can be served hot, cold, pickled of in salads. It is available all year in South Africa.

The nutritional value, especially the greens, which are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C, is exceptional. Beetroots are an excellent source of folic acid, manganese and potassium.

Beets belong to the same family as chard and spinach. The leaves have a bitter taste whereas the round root is sweet.

Four delicious ways to add more beets to your diet

Salad: Grated beets make a flavorful and colourful addition to coleslaw.

Dip: Beets blended with Greek yogurt make a delicious and healthy dip.

Juice: Fresh beetroot juice is best, as store-bought juice can be high in added sugars.

Leaves: Beet leaves can be cooked and enjoyed like spinach.

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