Beetroot is a tasty and succulent vegetable, renowned for its purple colour. A rich source of iron and several other minerals and vitamins, beetroot can be eaten raw, baked or boiled. Raw beetroots are crunchy, but when baked they take on a sweet-pungent flavour. If you prefer soft and sweet-tasting beetroots, boil them before using the vegetable in salads, sandwiches or other recipes.
Cut any leaves attached to the beetroot with a kitchen knife or scissors. Leave about 5 cm of the leaf stalk at the end of the beetroot. This will retain the colour, flavour and appearance of the beetroot.
Place the beetroots under running water to wash. Use your hands to scrub them gently to wash away any soil. Ensure that you do not pierce or damage the beetroot skin.
Set the uncut beetroots in a saucepan filled with water. Place the saucepan on medium heat and simmer for around 40 minutes or until the beetroots are tender. Insert a fork or knife inside the beetroot. If the fork enters the beetroot easily, it is tender and cooked. Additionally, the skin will come off easily from cooked beetroots.
Drain and rinse the beetroots with cold water. Let them stand for a while to cool naturally. Use a knife or your fingers to peel away the beetroot skin, and use as required.
Cooking times may vary depending upon the size and variety of the beetroot. Larger beetroots take longer to cook, and white beetroot varieties cook 20 per cent faster than red beetroots.
Cook the beetroot leaves just as you would prepare spinach, for a tasty and nutritious side dish.
Use a pressure cooker to quickly cook beetroots and reduce the boiling time by 30 minutes. Follow the manufacturer's instructions given for boiling beetroots in a pressure cooker.