- For the first time beetroot are mentioned in the documents from Babylonia from 722 BC. About 400 BC beets were grown in Greece, and 200 years later they reached the area of the Roman republic. During the times of Charles the Great, and for the rest of the Middle Ages, beetroot was grown as a deciduous vegetable in France and Italy, and in Germany from the 12th century. In the fifteenth century, the red beet variety went to Italy. In 1583 several varieties cultivated at the time were described for the first time in a scientific manner. In 1753, Karol Linnausz described all species and subspecies of beets and gave them Latin names, valid until today.
- Beetroot is usually erect with a long main root and a rosette of leaves growing on stems. The leaves are oval in shape, arranged alternately on the stem and grow 20–40 cm in length. The roots are usually red in color, elongated, spherical, or flat-shaped. The diameter of root is between 2 – 10 cm. The plant produces sessile green flowers and can reach even 1–2 m in height.
- Beetroot is planted in the temperate climate zone. Main world production comes from USA, China and European countries.
- Beetroots are harvested manually or mechanically with the harvesters. Mechanical harvesting is used on the big acreage are farms.
- There are three types of beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. vulgaris), of which beetroot (conditive variety) is consumed as a vegetable. Within this type there are three more types according to their shape and size: spherical, elongate and intermediate. For the commercial purpose beetroots are classified in two groups according to the shape of the roots: Elongate and rounded or flat-topped. This second type of beetroots (rounded and flat-topped) is the most cultivated.
- The edible part of beetroot is underground and aboveground. Young leaves contain a lot of protein, minerals and vitamin, more than roots. The root contains protein, fiber, vitamins (C, A, B1), organic acids (citric, oxalic, malic, vinous), folic acid and many minerals (including manganese, iron, potassium, magnesium, cobalt).
- Beetroot is widely used in the processing industry for the production of dried, frozen food, pickled, juices
- Beetroot scintific name: Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris
- The group of Beta vulgaris var. conditiva
- 070690 salad beetroot, salsify, celeriac, radishes and similar edible roots (excl. Carrots and turnips), fresh or chilled
- 071080 Vegetables uncooked or cooked by steaming or boiling in water, frozen
- 200190 Vegetables (other than cucumbers and gherkins), fruit, nuts and other edible parts of plants, prepared or preserved by vinegar or acetic acid
- 200989 Red beet juice concentrate
- Beetroot varieties differ from each other with the shape of roots (they can have a spherical or elongated shape), the length of the growing season (early, medium early and late varieties), the color of the skin and flesh, the content of sugars and other nutrients.
- The most common varieties are:
- Boltardy is one of the most popular beetroot varieties, bearing deep red, globe-shaped roots with an excellent sweet flavour. For the earliest crops, sow undercover as soon as the soil warms up at the start of the year. Later crops can be lifted in late autumn and stored in sand for use during winter.
- Chiogga is a variety with orange-pink skins and red and white rings on the flesh, which fade to pink when cooked. It is especially good in salads – slice in thin rings to show of its pretty flesh. The dark green leaves and red stems can also be used in salads.
- Kestrel has smooth, globe-shaped roots with a high sugar content and dark red skin and flesh. It’s perfect for eating as baby beets or left to mature without going ‘woody’. It has good resistance to bolting.
- Cylindra has long, red cylindrical roots, making it ideal for cutting into uniform slices. The roots have a rich, dark red colour, sweet flavour and store well. Its easy slicing makes this a great choice for pickling.
- Pablo is a beetroot with smooth-skinned, round roots with a dark red skin. Roots are sweet and can be eaten raw or cooked. The flesh is sweet, making ‘Pablo’ perfect for eating grated and raw in salads. Roots can be used as baby beets but also left to mature, without danger of them becoming ‘woody’. The mature roots store well into winter.
- Red ace has dark red, round or oval roots with a good flavour. Growth is strong and vigorous, making plants more tolerant of dry, sandy soils than other varieties – it less likely to bolt. ‘Red Ace’ is particularly suitable for exhibiting.
- Blankoma is a white variety. Roots are round or conical and earthy in flavour, with strong, tall green tops which may be used like spinach.
- Globe 2’ is a popular round variety. The roots are crisp and dark in colour, and have a very good flavour.
xxxxx - there is no data regarding cultivation of specific variety in each region
Class I consists of beets of similar varietal characteristics the roots of which are well trimmed, firm, fairly smooth, fairly well shaped, fairly clean and free from soft rot and free from damage caused by cuts, freezing, growth cracks, disease, rodents or insects, or mechanical or other means. Bunched beets or beets with short-trimmed tops shall have tops which are fresh and free from decay and free from damage caused by discoloration, freezing, disease, insects, or mechanical or other means.
The beets must be:
- have the shape characteristic of the variety;
- be not rough, ridged or misshapen;
- be trimmed so that the length of the tops of 75 % by weight of the beets in a lot does not exceed 13 mm and the length of the tops of the other beets does not exceed 25 mm;
- meet the following requirements in respect of diameter
- have a minimum diameter of 32 mm and a maximum diameter of 76 mm
- be free from any other damage or defect
This class consists of beets of similar varietal characteristics the roots of which are well trimmed, firm, not excessively rough, not seriously misshapen and which are free from soft rot and free from serious damage caused by cuts, dirt, freezing, growth cracks, disease, rodents or insects, or mechanical or other means. Bunched beets or beets with short-trimmed tops shall have tops which are fresh and free from decay and free from damage caused by discoloration, freezing, disease, insects, or mechanical or other means.
The beets must be:
- be not so deformed that their appearance is seriously affected;
- be trimmed so that the tops do not exceed 25 mm in length;
- meet the following requirements in respect of diameter
- have a minimum diameter of 32 mm
- be free from any other damage or defect or combination thereof that seriously affects the appearance, edibility or shipping quality of the beets
Unclassified consists of beets which have not been classified in accordance with either of the foregoing grades. The term "unclassified'' is not a grade within the meaning of these standards, but is provided as a designation to show that no grade has been applied to the lot.
Beetroots are processed into:
- frozen - bettroots is frozen in a freezing tunnel in the temperature -21 - -40 0C for a time necessary to obtain a temperature no higher than - 18 C.
- boiled or baked - rootbeets need long time for boiling or baking so it is commonly processed and packed in vacumm foil bags.
- juice - the juice is processed from fresh beetroots with the press and packed to the glass or plastic bottles
- pickled - marinated with vinegar, salt water, sometimes with sugar syrup
Key factors detrmining the quality of the beetroots:
- whole, not fragmented
- Healthy (a product with rotting symptoms or with such damage that renders it unfit for consumption is not allowed),
- clean - no visible foreign matter, if it has been washed - practically without excessive dirt and impurities, if it has not been washed, or if it has been washed and covered with clean peat
- free from pests,
- free from damage caused by pests,
- without signs of root growth in the seed shoot,
- undeveloped, devoid of secondary roots,
- free of abnormal external moisture, i.e. properly drained after washing,
- free of any foreign smell and / or taste.
The degree of development and condition of the beetrrot must be such that it enables transport and handling, and arriving in a satisfactory condition to the destination.
Beetroot prices depend on following factors:
- weather conditions during vegetation period (to low temperatures may lower the production)
- harvesting costs, especially manual methods increase the prices
- harvesting volume in particular regions in each year
- season of the year
- labor avaliability
- storage period
- transport costs
- cultivation costs - the amount of fertilization, spraying