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Burpees golden beetroot

LeifUKLeifUK Posts: 573

I grew the above last year. It was very sweet and tasty, albeit rather earthy. However, the raw root severely burnt my throat, making it feel as if I had a nasty throat infection. Even small pieces caused discomfort. Raw red beetroot does not do that. Does anyone else suffer? Is this true for all orange beetroot, or just burpees? Apparently in Eastern Europe orange beetroot is fed to pigs, people eat the red varieties. I'm growing some white beetroot this year, from Real Seeds, as well as red, and orange. 


  • Red beetroot does do that if it's left too long in the ground. I'm not sure if it's the nitrates or oxalates, but the levels are lower in younger specimens and there are more simple sugars. Pigs and cattle have a different physiology so feed beets such as mangelwurzel will have a different effect on their bodies than ours.

    You don't want to accumulate too much oxalates, which are relatively high in amaranthaceae as they can form particularly jaggedy calculus in the kidneys.



  • LeifUKLeifUK Posts: 573

    Thanks Frank, that makes sense, I harvested them quite late. I will try the orange earlier this year and see if there is a difference. I also suspect oxylates are the cause, and as you say, they are not good. I don't think cooking destroys them either, so I'd rather not eat them cooked, since all it means is the oxylates are diluted in solution (I tend to sweat down veg, rather than boil and discard the water).

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,795

    Just be careful eating raw beetroot - it can make blood pressure drop quite alarmingly and if you've already got low BP it might make you a bit poorly! 

    Sadly for those of us with high BP the effects are transient image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • LeifUKLeifUK Posts: 573

    Thanks Dove, I didn't know that. I do have BP on the low side too.

  • The two varieties I have grown Boltardy and Detroit 2 burn the throat like hell when left in the ground too long. I think I'm on top of the successional sowing this year.

  • LeifUKLeifUK Posts: 573

    I was planning on successional sowing too, 24 seedlings are planted, more modules to be planted at the end of this month. Charles Dowding recommends planting up to the end of July. Odd how the books do not mention the burning, or maybe we are more sensitive than most people? Apparently genetic differences can explain differing responses to fruit and veg. Not everyone has smelly urine after eating asparagus. 

  • I intended to ask the Rowett people about nitrates and their positive and negative effects on human physiology during exercise the next time I'm at one of their events. There's usually a plant-science+food science+cookery collaborative event  at the university botanic gardens at the may fest.

    Last year was a collab called Really Wild Veg between the Rowett (food science) and James Hutton (soil science) Institutes, the RGBE and a 3rd year student Josh comparing the soil and plant nutrients, pest and disease resistance and taste in wild, heirloom and F1 hybrids.

    The nitrates in some veg increase blood NO, eNos, increasing vascular dilation. That's a good thing for athletes, it's cardioprotective, vasculoprotective but if one has low blood pressure (hypotension) and one's cardiac stroke volume is inadequate for the increased vascular volume, that's certainly not good and brings risk of syncope and much worse. Betaine, a derivative of beetroot) is used as a sports nutrition supplement. One doesn't need to supplement at normal sport level, the ERK5 enzymes triggered during vigorous exercise sufficient to increase blood velocity increases NO - eNOS and does the same.

    Rocket (rucola) has the highest nitrate concentration among the veg I know , as cited in an EU agri report on nitrate 'contamination'

    So, I really want to ask the local food and soil scientists if it's particular nitrates that are considered a contaminant or if it's just when nitrates (and some nitrites) are eaten in excess of the body's ability to metabolise and use them that's the problem. Yeah, so I'll ask about the really harsh pharygeal burn due to the oxalic acid while I'm at it.

    There's a professor Andy Jones at Exeter who almost exclusively, studies beetroot.

  • LeifUKLeifUK Posts: 573

    Fascinating. Plants clearly do have physiological impact beyond mere nutrition. Mint tea soothes my stomach, and chamomile tea aids sleep. I'd certainly be interested if you discover more. 

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