Pablo Beet Roots
Inventory, lb : 0
Pablo beets are generally uniform, globular roots with a small, single taproot, but the root’s appearance may vary due to growing conditions and soil. The skin is smooth, firm, thin, and dark red, attached to elongated, leafy green stalks that grow in a rosette pattern. Underneath the skin, the flesh is dense, crisp, burgundy, and aqueous, lacking the ringed configuration normally found within other beet varieties. When raw, Pablo beets have a sweet, earthy taste and a crunchy texture that deepens into a rich, savory-sweet flavor and a soft, tender consistency with cooking.
Pablo beets are available in the summer through fall.
Pablo beets, botanically classified as Beta vulgaris, are a hybrid variety that belongs to the Chenopodiaceae family. The uniform, globular roots were created in the Netherlands as a variety designed for commercial cultivation, but the beets also became a popular cultivar for home gardening and quickly spread across Eastern Europe into Central Asia. Pablo beets are high yielding, easy-to-grow, and are favored for their short growing season and resistance to cold temperatures. Considered to be one of the most popular varieties found at European markets, Pablo beets were awarded the Garden of Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society in 1993 and were praised for their quality flavor and exceptional growth characteristics. The roots can be harvested young and sold as a baby beet, or they can be left to mature and sold at a larger size for use in culinary applications and as a natural food colorant.
Pablo beets are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, manganese, fiber, potassium, and iron, which are vital nutrients that can help reduce inflammation and regulate the digestive system. The beets are also a good source of betaine, which is a phytochemical that gives the root its dark red pigment and has been known to help cleanse the bloodstream.
Pablo beets are best suited for cooked applications such as boiling, roasting, and baking. Once cleaned, the beets can be grated raw into salads, but the flesh is typically considered to be more palatable when consumed cooked. Pablo beets can be sliced thin and baked into crisps, boiled and blended into smoothies, pureed and incorporated into baked goods such as brownies and cakes, or sliced into strips and stir-fried. The beets can also be baked with the skin on the retain nutrients and are then peeled for use in salads, sandwiches, soups, stews, or pickling. In addition to the roots, the leaves can be used as a substitute for spinach in leafy green preparations. Pablo beets pair well with meats such as beef, pork, fish, and poultry, eggs, apples, oranges, herbs such as mint, parsley, dill, and marjoram, cheeses such as burrata, blue, and goat, mushrooms, potatoes, green beans, peas, cabbage, and carrots. The fresh roots will keep 2-4 weeks when stored whole and unwashed with the greens removed and kept in the refrigerator.
In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Pablo beets are most popularly used in borscht, which is a soup with many different variations and rich history. Borscht is traditionally a winter dish that can be traced back to the 9th century and was created as a filling meal utilizing the local ingredients in Eastern Europe. Beets were not added to the soup until the 14th century, and over time, the dish transformed from peasant food into a widespread, everyday meal for all classes, especially in Russia. Borscht is made with varying ingredients, and some versions of the dish have been heavily influenced by Western European cooking, such as French thick sauce making. In Central Asia, one version of beetroot-based borscht is made with meat such as beef, sausage, or bacon, root vegetables, spices and herbs, and a rich broth. Once cooked, the soup is traditionally served with sour cream, fresh herbs, and bread. Beyond everyday meals, borscht is also used as a symbolic meal for many religious holidays in Eastern Europe, including lent, Christmas, and Passover.
Pablo beets were developed in the Netherlands by Bejo Zaden, which is a seed breeding company that has research stations in over thirty different countries. Today the hybrid variety has become cultivated worldwide and is marketed for both commercial growing and home gardening. Pablo beets can be found at local markets and specialty grocers in Europe, especially in Ukraine and Moldova, in Central Asia, including Kazakhstan and Russia, and in regions of North America. The beets featured in the photograph above were found at an open-air food fair in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Grown by Korean farmers who moved to Kazakhstan in the 1930s, the beets are grown in a village known as Malovodnoye, which roughly translates to “little water.” Due to the dry soil and limited water, the beets may form into irregular shapes, as seen in the photograph, but they still retain quality flavor.