Beetroot is known for its dark purple skin and flesh, but golden and stripy varieties are also grown in South Australia and are available at local farmers’ markets.
The root vegetable has a rich, earthy flavour and can be eaten raw, boiled, roasted and pickled. The leaves of the plant can also be eaten and served in similar ways to spinach – young leaves are perfect for salads and juices.
Beetroot is high in fibre, folate, antioxidants and a range of vitamins and minerals. Its leaves are rich in vitamin K and the antioxidant beta carotene. Golden beetroot have orange skin and flesh, and tend to be slightly sweeter and milder in flavour than purple beetroot varieties, with juice that doesn’t stain.
Adelaide Farmers’ Market stall The Vegie Basket grows certified organic beetroot all year round near Two Wells, with different varieties suited to different times of the year (golden beetroot, for example, tends not to like the summer heat).
Owners Heather and Don Baker and daughter Emma grow the vegetable from seed sown directly into the earth in rotation with brassicas. After the seedlings have emerged they are thinned out by hand to allow sufficient space for the plants to mature. They say beetroot plants are hardy and don’t tend to be bothered by slugs or snails.
At the Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market, the Bakers sell beetroot bunches, fresh beetroot, pickled beetroot, beetroot chutney and beetroot chips at The Vegie Basket stall. Salad Greens and Herbs and The Food Forest also sell certified organic beetroot at the Showground Farmers’ Market; certified organic beetroot seedlings are sold by Bickleigh Vale Farm, while Patlins Gardens, Bull Creek Garlic, N&M Tsimiklis, WR Hart’s and Virgara’s Garden sell fresh beetroot. The market is open on Sundays from 9am to 1pm at the Adelaide Showground, Leader Street, Wayville.
Beetroot is also available at the Bull Creek Organic Garlic, WR Hart’s and Virgara’s Garden stalls at Willunga Farmers’ Market, open on Saturdays from 8am to 12.30pm. Also open on Saturdays is the Gawler Farmers’ Market, from 8am to noon at the Gawler Visitor Information Centre, 2 Lyndoch Road, Gawler, with The Vegie Basket, N&M Tsimiklis and The Food Forest among stallholders.
Here, Lyndall Vandenberg, marketing and communications coordinator for the Willunga Farmers’ Market, has shared her recipe for beetroot dip.
“The earthy sweetness of beetroot works well with chilli and za’atar, taking on a savoury edge,” says Vandenberg. “Serve it as a dip with Turkish bread and hummus, which is a great complementary partner, or as part of a mezze range.”
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, seeded and finely sliced
1 cup natural yoghurt
1tbsp pomegranate molasses
salt to taste
3tbsp olive oil plus extra to finish
2 shallots, sliced
1 handful chopped toasted almonds
50g crumbled feta
Trim beetroot and place in a large saucepan filled with water. Bring to the boil, then turn down heat and simmer until beetroot is tender (about 30 minutes). Drain, then set beetroot aside to cool.
Once cool enough to handle, peel beetroot and place it with garlic, chilli and yoghurt in a food processor; blend until smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in molasses, olive oil, za’atar, and a teaspoon of salt.
Transfer to a flat serving plate and use the back of a spoon to spread the dip around the plate. Scatter shallots, almonds and feta on top and finally drizzle with a little more olive oil. Serve at room temperature.
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