Grow your own beetroot from seeds, beetroot pretty much divides the nation into those who can scarcely go
a day without it and those who would only eat it if it was the last thing in
the fridge. There are strains in Nicky’s Nursery’s range that might make us one
nation again – who could resist white beetroot which doesn’t bleed when cut;
all the gorgeousness without the mess! If you fancy growing some beetroot seed,
try this one – its name is Albina Ice.
Apart from the colour, the other thing that puts people of beetroot
sometimes is that the ones in the shops are so old and woody that they don’t
present very well, even if they are cooked for ages. Even if blitzed down into
soup, these old beetroot have very stringy fibres and they also develop a very
earthy taste which few people find very pleasant to eat. If you sow beetroot
seeds in batches, you can always have tiny little baby vegetables to make your
favourite dishes with and there is nothing nicer than a salad made with freshly
pulled salad leaves, radishes fresh from the ground and some really small,
tender beetroot. A simple vinaigrette binds them all together and it is
If you want to have some fun with beetroot seeds, why not mix some
varieties which may take guests by surprise. Along with the white Albina Ice,
there is the amber coloured Burpees Golden and the striped Chioggia, which look
not unlike a red onion when sliced, with concentric rings of red and white.
Arranged on a plate and drizzled with dressing, they look amazing and would
convert the most dedicated beetroot-phobe. And if you still aren’t converted to
loving this fabulous root, you can even cook the leaves like spinach or use
young ones in a salad.
When it comes to sowing beetroot seeds, it pays to soak them in water
for a while before planting because it just softens the seed that little bit
and makes germination more reliable. If you sow in batches, you will have
beetroot all year long and if you like pickles, then this, with onion, has to
be the vegetable for you. You can go the whole hog and make a beetroot
pickle which goes well with any cold meat or cheese or you can keep it simple
and just pickle cooked beetroot in vinegar. The great thing about pickled
beetroot is that it is ready almost at once, so there is none of the waiting
that you have to go through with onions, cucumbers and the like.