Beetroot is one of the few surviving plants on our allotment that hasn't been munched by greedy, gluttonous slugs and snails. I think that our plot, being positioned next to the rolls of old rotten carpet and waste ground is asking for trouble. When I walk up the path and, towards the old timers in our allotment group, I notice they have beautifully formed, perfectly pristine lettuces growing in the neatest rows with no trace of gorging snails. But it's OK, I'm not bitter or envious, despite once thinking our plot was being sabotaged by people sprinkling weed seeds all over our once ,very neat raised beds. I guess it's just a slightly irritating learning curve of what to grow and what not to bother trying to grow.
So it's a good job we like beetroot as much as we do, as this is going to be our bulk crop this summer along with the fennel, which so far, is also doing mighty fine.
Beetroot raw, grated with carrots and mixed with lemon juice and a peppery olive oil is my favourite way to eat it. I also love it roasted with rosemary and garlic then cooled, sliced and eaten with horseradish and a strong cheddar in a sandwich. Or, like I first mentioned, grating it raw and mixing it with creme fraiche, dill and Dijon mustard and topped with deliciously meaty, smoked eel. If you're put off my eating eel because of the way it looks alive, don't be. When smoked, it is really tasty with a firm texture and deep oily flavour - excellent with beetroot.