The beetroot’s journey in Australia is as colourful as the vegetable itself.
It was initially introduced by European settlers, but the beetroot quickly rooted into Australian soils and palates.
Over the years, it’s become a staple in Australian cuisine, celebrated for its versatility and health benefits.
Whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or a beginner, beetroot offers a world of colour, flavour, and nutrition, ready to be tapped right in your backyard.
How Many Types of Beetroot Are There?
It’s hard to pinpoint an exact number because there have been a lot of cultivars in the history of beetroot.
However, some gardening professionals and farmers say there are three main varieties of beetroot – ornamental beet, sugar beet and fodder beet (typically grown for feeding animals).
In this blog, we’ll talk about the most common types of beetroot Australia has to offer. These include the classic red (aka Beta vulgaris), golden beets, and heirloom (heritage) varieties.
Common Beetroot Varieties in Australia
Baby Beetroot (Baby Beets)
Baby Beets are young, small beetroots harvested early in their growth cycle rather than a specific variety.
They come in various colours like classic red, golden, or Chioggia and are prized for their tender texture and concentrated sweetness.
Their leaves are equally tender and flavorful, making them excellent for salads.
Baby Beets thrive in rich, well-drained soil and require consistent moisture for uniform growth.
These young beetroots are ideal for eating raw in salads or pickling but can also be roasted or steamed.
Bulls Blood (Red Devil)
Bulls Blood, also known as Red Devil, is renowned for its deep, burgundy-red leaves and equally dark roots.
Its leaves are flavourful and slightly spicy, making them ideal for salads.
The roots of the Bulls Blood beet have a rich, earthy taste.
While it’s usually grown for its leaves, the beetroot can be enjoyed raw in salads or cooked the way you like it.
This variety thrives in cooler climates and well-drained soil, maturing quickly.
Bulls Blood is a favourite among gardeners for its dual-purpose use and ornamental appeal.
Chioggia (Candy Stripe, Candycane or Bullseye Beet)
Chioggia, affectionately known as Candy Stripe or Candycane, is celebrated for its unique red and white concentric rings.
It offers a sweeter and milder flavour than traditional red beetroots, with tender leaves that are great in salads.
Chioggia beetroot grows well in rich, well-draining soil and prefers cooler weather.
They are best enjoyed raw in salads to showcase their beautiful patterning, but they can also be lightly steamed or pickled, which will cause the rings to fade but maintain their delicate flavour.
Crosby Egyptian (Early Crosby Egyptian)
The Crosby Egyptian, also known as Early Crosby Egyptian, is a heritage variety known for its unique, flattened shape and deep red colour.
Its flavour is distinctly sweet and earthy, with a tender yet firm texture.
The leaves are green, slightly veined, and edible, offering a robust, earthy taste.
This variety is appreciated for its early maturation, thriving in well-drained soil with consistent moisture.
Crosby Egyptian beetroots are versatile in the kitchen. They can be enjoyed raw, adding a crisp, flavourful dimension to salads. Or you can cook them so their sweetness is intensified, making them perfect for roasting or boiling.
Detroit Dark Red (Red Ball, Detroit Red Globe or Crimson Globe)
The Detroit Dark Red, also known as Red Ball, Detroit Red Globe, or Crimson Globe, features a classic deep red root and green leaves with red veins.
The Detroit Dark Red’s roots are known for their crisp texture and sweet flavour, which intensifies when cooked.
Its leaves are equally edible, offering a slightly bitter, earthy taste.
The Detroit Dark Red Beetroot shows robust growing behaviour, thriving in well-drained soil and full sunlight, and is resilient to various climates.
While Detroit Dark Red can be eaten raw and sliced thinly in salads for a crisp texture, it’s often best to roast or boil it to enhance its inherent sweetness.
Early Wonder is a fast-maturing beetroot variety, notable for its round, dark red roots and large, lush green leaves.
It has a tender texture and a sweet, earthy flavour.
This variety is ideal for cooler climates and grows best in fertile, well-draining soil.
Early Wonder is perfect for eating raw in salads, or its roots can be cooked to enhance their natural sweetness.
The leaves are also highly nutritious and can be cooked like spinach or added fresh to salads.
Golden Beetroot (Golden Detroit, Golden Globe and Burpee Golden)
Golden Beetroot stands out with its bright yellow-orange flesh, providing a milder and sweeter taste than its red counterparts.
It also comes without the earthy undertone commonly associated with beetroots.
This variety is less likely to bleed its colour, making it a preferred choice for aesthetically pleasing dishes.
The leaves of the golden beetroot are slightly more tender and sweet compared to other varieties.
They grow well in loose, well-draining soil and require consistent moisture.
Golden beetroots can be eaten raw or roasted, which caramelises their sugars and enhances their sweetness.
White Beetroot (White Detroit, Albino, Avalanche and Blankoma)
White Beetroot, known as White Detroit, Albino, Avalanche, or Blankoma, features pale, almost white roots.
It offers a more intense flavour profile, slightly earthy and less sweet than red beetroots, and a firmer texture.
The green leaves with white veins are edible and have a milder taste compared to the root.
This variety requires a growing environment similar to other beetroots but is often considered a bit more delicate in handling and cooking.
White beetroots are versatile in the kitchen; they can be eaten raw, bringing a crisp texture and strong flavour to salads or cooked, which mellows their intensity and brings out a creamy texture.
Growing beetroot in Australia can be a rewarding experience with the right knowledge:
Soil and planting
Beetroot prefers light, well-draining soil with a neutral pH. Sowing seeds directly into the ground is recommended, as beetroot does not respond well to transplanting.
Watering and sunlight
Regular watering is crucial for beetroot, especially in dry periods, to prevent the roots from becoming woody. They thrive in full sun but can tolerate partial shade.
Temperature and pests
Beetroot grows best in cooler temperatures but can withstand a range. Keep an eye out for common pests like leaf miners and practice crop rotation to maintain soil health.
More About Beetroots
What is the sweetest beetroot variety?
The Golden Beetroot is often considered the sweetest variety.
Its bright yellow-orange flesh has a naturally higher sugar content, giving it a milder, sweeter taste without the earthy undertones typical of other beetroot varieties.
This makes it a favourite for both raw and cooked preparations, especially for those who prefer a less earthy flavour.
What is the best type of beetroot?
The “best” type of beetroot largely depends on personal preference and intended use.
For traditionalists, the Detroit Dark Red is a popular choice for its classic beet flavour and versatility in cooking.
Those seeking visual appeal might prefer the Chioggia for its striking red and white rings.
For a sweeter, milder flavour, the Golden Beetroot is an excellent choice.
Is beetroot eaten raw or cooked?
It depends on what you’re making! Beetroot is versatile and can be enjoyed both raw and cooked.
It’s crisp and slightly sweet when raw, making it a great addition to salads and slaws.
Cooking beetroot, whether roasting, boiling, or steaming, brings out its natural sweetness and tenderises the root.
Additionally, the leaves and stems of beetroots are edible and can be used in salads, sautéed, or added to soups.