Beetroot Facts

Beetroot Facts
Beetroot is herbaceous plant that belongs to the family Amaranthaceae. This plant originates from India, Mediterranean areas and Atlantic coast of Europe, but it can be found all over the world today. Beetroot is cultivated mainly because of its high nutritional value. Chemical compounds isolated from beetroot are used in medicine, chemical and food industry. Beetroot was used as ornamental plant in the past. Assyrians were using beetroot in Hanging Gardens of Babylon 800 years BC.
Interesting Beetroot Facts:
Beetroot develops leafy stem that can grow 39 to 78 inches in height.
Beetroot has heart-shaped leaves. They are usually 2 to 8 inches long in wild plants and much longer in cultivated varieties.
Most people cultivate beetroot because of its edible root. It develops 55 to 65 days after planting of seed. Root is usually red to purple in color. Unlike other types of vegetables, root contains high quantities of sugar.
Beetroot develops small, green or reddish flowers that appear in dense spikes. Flowers are pollinated by wind.
Fruit of beetroot is called nutlet. It has hard structure and it is arranged in clusters.
Beetroot has high nutritional value. Besides high content of sugar, beetroot is rich source of vitamins B6 and B9 and minerals such as iron, magnesium and potassium.
Beetroot can be used raw, cooked or pickled. It is often used for salads, soups and as an ingredient of dishes made of meat. Beetroot can be also used for the manufacture of wine.
Leaves of beetroot are also edible. Fresh leaves taste like spinach.
Leaves of beetroot were used for binding of wounds in the ancient Greece. Beetroot was popular "mouth freshener" in the past. It was used to eliminate the smell of garlic. Latest medical experiments showed that beetroot lowers blood pressure and increases endurance in athletes. It also prevents development of liver diseases which result from protein deficiency, diabetes or alcohol abuse.
Beetroot juice was used as dye in the past. During the 19th century, women used beetroot for dyeing of hair.
Betain is a substance isolated from beetroot. It is responsible for the purple color of the root. This substance is used in food industry to improve color and taste of desserts, jams, ice-creams, jellies, tomato sauces and breakfast cereals.
Home-made lotion (produced by boiling the beetroot) can be used for the removal of dandruff.
Juice made of beetroot can be used instead of litmus paper to determine acidity or alkalinity of solution. One drop of beetroot juice changes its color in pink in acid solutions and into yellow in alkaline solution.
Beetroot contains high amount of boron which facilitates production of sex hormones. It was popular aphrodisiac during the Roman time.
Beetroot is biennial plant which means that it finishes its life cycle in two years.

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