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Preparing beetroot: this root vegetable, when grown and cooked at home, bears no resemblance to the shop-bought product. It melts in the mouth, is delicately flavoured and entirely delicious. 

This is what you should do for beet as good as that in the lower picture. Dig roots that are about tennis-ball size, including the leaves. Cut these away to leave about four inches (20cms) of stalk, wash to remove earth and place into a pan of cold water, so that the roots are covered. Bring to the boil, cover the pan with a lid and simmer until a sharp knife can be inserted into the largest of the beet. Leave to cool then drain (or drain and run under the cold tap until cool enough to handle. The skin will rub off and you can trim the top and bottom of the cooked veg. Slice into a dish and douse with malt vinegar, just enough so that the slices are moist. Cover with a lid and store in the fridge between meals. The beet are best eaten at room temperature so remember to remove them from the fridge before needed. The leaves can be fed to the hens, raw, or thrown onto the compost heap.

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