Golden beetroot have been around from the early 1800’s when Golden Detroit became available but did not become popular until the 1940’s when Burpees Golden became the golden beet of choice.
Golden beetroot is still unusual though so it can be fun to grow some as something a little different. The flavour is the same, although the dark purple red of normal beetroots has a more unusual antioxidant profile (betacyanins as well as betaxanthins which have links to reduced levels of cancer and nitrates which may temporarily reduce blood pressure) so has the edge health wise although orange beets still have good health benefits, containing both betaxanthins and nitrates.
In the kitchen
Use as you would any normal beetroot.
Young beetroot can be peeled and grated in coleslaw, sliced in to matchsticks in salads or added to smoothies.
Most commonly they are steamed or boiled in their skins for 15-20 minutes and then skins removed once cooked and cooled slightly or peeled and roasted for 30-45 minutes at 180c.
You can use the leaves in place of spinach or Swiss chard. Their flavour is similar to both. They do contain oxalic acid though (its what causes that funny fuzzy feeling on your teeth when you eat Rhubarb or spinach) which can affect the body so only consume one or two times a week.
Yield and plant health
Harvest about 3 months after sowing from when roots are golfball size onwards. They will stand for a long time and I had no bolting from any sowing. Beets remained a manageable size even when mature and did not have hollowness in the heart. Like all other beetroot it doesn’t suffer from many pests and diseases in the UK other than slugs attacking young seedlings.
Beetroot are one of the easiest crops to grow if you get the basics right.
Before sowing add a general organic fertiliser like blood fish and bone to a sunny spot in your garden and rake in lightly. Sow in drills 2.5cm deep from April to July. Sow a couple of seeds, 10 cm apart with 30 cm between each row. Only sow as much as you think you could eat or preserve in a month.
Cover lightly with soil and water gently. Water gently every couple of days if the weather is dry until the seeds emerge. You will likely get several seeds germinating so thin to one plant per 10 cm for bigger beets as soon as they are about 3cm high or if you want to harvest smaller than a golf ball. You can use thinings in salads. If you are feeling a bit lazy you don’t have to thin but it will take the beets longer to get to a harvestable size if you do.
After that they will look after themselves. If it is very dry water well, once every week – two weeks. Hoe lightly between rows to keep weeds down. If you are growing show beets then you can feed with an organic high nitrogen fertiliser but for the kitchen this isn’t really needed.
Repeat every four weeks for succession sowing.
Start to harvest the beets when they are the size of a golf ball to the size of a small apple.
If you want to sow earlier then you can do so under fleece protection or in modules in a green house in march to plant out in April. Late sowings either need to be pulled in October and preserved or stored with foliage in sand or compost in a cool frost free location. In warmer parts of the UK you could cover with fleece and leave in the ground.