Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Facts about Beets in Russia and Beet Recipes

Third blogs the charm right?

My first two failed, the first because all the YouTube links are no longer active since the videos broke copyright laws and the second I had trouble assimilating all the information

Hopefully THIS post will go through.


Pickled Beets may be a staple of Southern Cuisine, but Russia makes more (and better) beet dishes.

Now, here is what wikipedia says about sugar beets (minus foot notes):

Sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.), a member of the Chenopodiaceae family, is a plant whose root contains a high concentration of sucrose. It is grown commercially for sugar production.

The sugar beet is directly related to the beetroot, chard and fodder beet, all descended by cultivation from the sea beet.

The European Union, the United States, and Russia are the world's three largest sugar beet producers,although only the European Union and Ukraine are significant exporters of sugar from beets. The U.S. harvested 1,004,600 acres of sugarbeets in 2008 alone. Beet sugar accounts for 30% of the world's sugar production.

In the United States, genetically modified sugar beets resistant to glyphosate (marketed by Monsanto Company as Roundup), a herbicide, were planted for the first time in the spring of 2008. Sugar from the biotechnology-enhanced sugarbeet has been approved for human and animal consumption in the European Union. This action by the EU executive body allows unrestricted imports of food and feed products made from (H7-1) glyphosate-tolerant (Roundup Ready) sugarbeets. On September 21, 2009, a federal court ruled that the USDA had violated federal law in deregulating Roundup Ready sugar beets without adequately evaluating the environmental and socio-economic impacts of allowing commercial production, and will be considering an appropriate injunction.


A large root vegetable in 4000-year-old Egyptian temple artwork may be a beet. Although beets have been grown as vegetables and for fodder since antiquity, their use as a sugar crop is relatively recent. As early as in 1590, the French botanist Olivier de Serres extracted a sweet syrup from beetroot, but the practice was not widely used. The Prussian chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf used alcohol to extract sugar from beets (and carrots) in 1747, but the methods did not lend themselves to industrial scale production.

His former pupil and successor Franz Karl Achard began selectively breeding sugar beet from the White Silesian fodder beet in 1784. By the beginning of the 19th century, his beet was approximately 5–6 percent sucrose by weight, compared to around 20 percent in modern varieties. Under the patronage of Frederick William III of Prussia, he opened the world's first beet sugar factory in 1801, at Cunern in Silesia.

The beet sugar industry in Europe rapidly developed after the Napoleonic Wars. In 1807, the British began a blockade of France, which prevented the import of sugarcane from the Caribbean. Partly in response, in 1812 Frenchman Benjamin Delessert devised a process of sugar extraction suitable for industrial application. In 1813, Napoleon instituted a retaliatory embargo. By the end of the wars, over 300 sugar beet mills operated in France and central Europe.

The first sugar beet mill in the U.S. opened in 1838, and the first commercially successful mill was established by E. H. Dyer in 1879.

In 2005 Russia the the fourth largest producer of sugar beets in the world, right behind France, Germany, and America.

Map showing concentrations of sugar beet production in 2005; notice that most of Russia's sugar beets are grown in European Russia.

Now, for some recipes - a drink, an appetizer, and a salad.

I looked for dishes without red meat and dishes a little off the beaten track:

Kvas from beets and plums recipe -

Cuisine: Russian


1 kg red beets (35.2733686 ounces or 2.2026432 lbs.)

1 kg plums (35.2733686 ounces or 2.2026432 lbs.)

5 ltrs water (20 cups)

500 g sugar (17.6366843 ounces or 1.1013216 lbs.)


Rinse the red beets, peel and cut them into large pieces.

Rinse the plums, cut each into halves and remove the stones.

Place the red beets and plums in a glass jar, pour in some cooled boiled water, add some sugar and put on a lid not very tightly so that the air might get through.

Leave the kvass to ferment at room temperature.

Note that I used their metric converter and added in the US measurements in parentheses.

Now, here is an appetizer:


2 ea thick salted herrings.

5 ea potatoes.

4 ea carrots.

3 ea beets.

4 ea eggs.

400 gr mayonnaise.


The Russian name is "Selyodka pod Shouboy", that means "Herring under fur coat".

It is a traditional national dish for any events.

You can call it, for example, Dressed Herring.

Dressed Herring is loved and considered one of the most delicious salads by Russians everywhere.

Try and enjoy!


Boil vegetables until they are ready (you can boil vegetables in 1 pan).

Boil eggs hard. Peel skin from herrings, cut them along the spine.

Take all bones away. Cut herring meat into very little pieces and always check for bones.

Take a large dish.

Put herring meat evenly on the bottom.

If you like onion, you can put little pieces of onion on the herring.

Then spread mayonnaise evenly (thin layer).Grind potatoes and make the next layer of it.

Spread mayonnaise.

Use a fork to plane the layers.

Then goes carrot (grind, put, spread).

Then you do the same with 4 eggs and beets.

Spread mayonnaise on the beets and grind 1 egg on it to make the dish beautiful.

This salad must look like a cake.

Put the dish in the fridge for an hour.

"Selyodka pod Shouboy" is served as an appetizer.

Now for the salad:

Entered for safe-keeping for ZWT.


A food processor will save time.

I have added 3 ways to precook the beets, depending on your preference.

I recommend wearing plastic gloves when handling the beets, as they will stain otherwise.

SERVES 4 (change servings and units)


2 1/4 lbs red beets, grated (1 kg)

3 1/2 ounces walnuts, chopped (100 g)

2-3 garlic cloves, crushed

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons mayonnaise



2 Wash the beets and trim the ends off before cooking.

3 To ROAST: Place trimmed beets in a roasting pan and add a little water for steam.

Roast the beets at 425 degrees F for 30 to 45 minutes (cover the pan with foil) or
until the beets are easily pierced with a knife.

4 To BOIL: Cook the beets for 20 to 30 minutes, or until tender.

5 To MICROWAVE: Cook the beets with a little water for 8 to 15 minutes on HIGH.

6 Slip off the skins under running water and grate or dice.


8 Mix grated or diced cooked beets, chopped walnuts (if serving immediately; otherwise, reserve until serving), and crushed garlic.

9 Season with salt and pepper.

10 Add mayonnaise and mix well.

No videos this time because the YouTube videos with beet recipes are weird and some were slightly creepy.

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