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by Daphne Lambert

We sowed beetroot in the straw bale beds and in pots. We used soil that had been enriched with bokashi (bokashi video) and made successive sowings from April through to the beginning of September and lifted the last roots in November.

Beets are easy to grow and were successful in the pots and in the beds. The seed is usually gathered in small clusters so we had to thin out. They were completely free of pests and diseases and we had an abundant crop, young roots we used in salads, slightly older roots we used in juices or roast, and the largest roots we fermented into kvass a lactic bacteria rich drink

Beetroot because of its high content of iron and silicic acids helps in the regeneration of new blood cells. The nitrates in beetroot produce a gas called nitric oxide in the blood which widens blood vessels and helps to lower blood pressure

Beetroot contains folic acid which is essential for normal tissue growth. Folic acid is crucial in the development of the baby’s spinal cord. Beetroot helps the liver and gall bladder to function properly, a poorly functioning liver can cause fatigue, illness and overweight. Betacyanin, the pigment that gives beetroot its colour, is a powerful antioxidant. Beetroot is thought to protect against genetic damage and is often used therapeutically for its anti cancer properties. A powerful restorative drink is made from the juice of equal quantities of beetroot, celery, cucumber and carrot.

Beetroot & pear salad with horseradish hemp cream

450g beetroot

1 shallot finely chopped

salt & pepper

juice and zest of 1 orange

4 tablespoons walnut oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pears

4 handfuls of frisee or mixed salad leaves

2 teaspoons grated horseradish

110ml hemp cream

snipped chives

Oven 180°C

Trim away the beetroot greens and save for another dish. Wash the beetroot well and place in a small oiled baking tray with ½" water, cover and bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove and cool.

Mix the shallots, salt, pepper, juice and zest of the orange and the oils together. When the beetroot are cool peel and cut into wedges.

Peel, quarter and core the pears, cut each quarter in half and cover with half the dressing.

Toss the frisee or salad leaves with the remaining dressing and arrange on four plates. Arrange the pears and then the beetroot on top of the salad leaves. Stir the horseradish into the hemp cream and put a dollop on the top of each salad and sprinkle over the chives.

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