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When Keith announced that he was going to plant some beetroot in the veg garden this year I wasn't too keen.  I don't like beetroot I thought to myself. I'd avoided the awful, tasteless pickled stuff since it turned up a couple of times in my school dinners as a child.  But I kept my misgivings to myself.  The pigs can always eat it I thought. 

I'd noticed a slight resurgence in the popularity of beetroot lately.  People were even sneaking it into brownies.  Chocolate and beetroot!  Are you mad?

Well, not so mad it seems.  We started harvesting the beetroot last week and WOW! What a revelation!  I LOVE beetroot.  It's been in everything.  I've roasted it, pickled it (bet mine will taste better than the bland stuff of my youth), searched the internet for recipes which have led me to made halva (delicious), plan a risotto, beetroot and goat's cheese tarte tatin (lunch today) and yes, even make brownies - which are compulsively delicious and much better than just the boring chocolate ones. And it's a great way to get at least one of your five a day! What a brilliantly versatile vegetable it is.  Sweet or savourty, beetroot fits the bill. 

We've not ignored the leaves either.  They can be cooked in the same way as spinach. They've been eaten copiously and some has gone into the freezer to be pulled out in January to remind me of this glorious summer. Even Merryck's been eating it (although I noticed he'd eaten round it last night and left some in his bowl.  Three days of beetroot is enough even for him!)

I'm absolutely obsessed with the stuff at the moment. Something that looks that good and tastes that fine has got to be good for you I thought.  So I've researched it's health qualities - and they are many.  Beetroot is of exceptional nutritional value.  The greens are rich in calcium, iron and Vitamins A and C.  The beets themselves are a good source of folic acid, fibre, manganese and potassium.  Beetroot is good for your liver, it helps to start the detox process, it lowers cholesterol and cleans the blood by increasing the white blood cells which detect and eliminate abnormal cells. Its vibrantly purple hue is due to betacyanin which depresses the development of some type of cancers.  And what's more they contain no fat.  So bring on those brownies ;)

So in the last week I've discovered beetroots.  And they are brilliant.  If you haven't tried them, go out and get some now.  Or better still, dig up some of the flowers in your garden and next year plant beetroots.  Your body will thank you for it. 

Here's some of the recipes I've tried this week.  I'm working my way through the list.  They are all delicious. 

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/feb/23/10-best-beetroot-recipes