July marks the beginning of the bountiful beetroot season in the UK.
Crammed full of goodness, flavour and bold colour, beetroot should be your one-stop root vegetable for sweet and savoury recipes this summer.
CLICK ON PHOTO FOR GALLERY OF BEETROOT RECIPES
Laden with antioxidants, the crimson red vegetable is effective in helping to protect the body from the traumas of daily life and support the immune system. In beetroot, antioxidants come in the form of betacyanin which give the beet its strong red and purple colour. Betacyanin is also thought to dramatically reduce blood pressure.
Beetroot has one of the highest sugar contents of any vegetable. Up to 10 per cent of beetroot is sugar, but it is released slowly into the body rather than the sudden rush that results from eating sweets or chocolate.
The humble beetroot could also be the key to beating your hangover! Betacyanin speeds up detoxification in your liver, which enables your body to turn the alcohol into a less harmful substance that can be excreted quicker than normal.
Preparing fresh beetroot requires a bit of effort but it beats any vacuum packed supermarket version. Chop off the leaves but don't discard them - they're delicious and beetroot leaves can be used in the same way as spinach. Beets can be roasted or boiled - thereafter the possibilities are endless!
Tip: To cure the inevitable 'pink fingers', rub with lemon juice and salt before washing with soap and water.
Make the most of beetroot with our sumptuous sweet and savoury recipes:
Succulent Pulled pork with Sticky Beetroot and Red Onion will keep hungry party guests happy.
For a modern summery twist on a classic dish, try our very simple Beetroot and Cheddar Ploughmans.
A great speedy lunchtime treat try of Steak and Beetroot Sandwich with Honey and Mustard Dressing.
We challenge everyone to guess what vegetable made its way into The Ultimate Chocolate and Beetroot Cake.
Add a splash of colour to your breakfast or teatime with these delightfully springy Spiced Beetroot and Apple Muffins with Crunchy Hazelnut Topping.