Jane Grigson wrote in her Vegetables cookery book that beetroot was the preference of people who liked their food dyed in medieval colours. Harsh, but there’s no escaping the fact that beetroot juice does stain everything fairly permanently, which is why it’s been used as a cloth dye for centuries.

People forget, though, that there’s more than one shade of beetroot. Golden beetroot is a beautiful deep shade of yellow – even though it tastes exactly like its purple cousin – and I wouldn’t be surprised if it dyed everything a wonderful saffron colour. I’d quite fancy that in a risotto with some butternut squash, thinking about it.

There’s also a wonderful rainbow beetroot, of which I’ve only ever seen photographs. I have no idea what this dyes things – I expect if you’re really lucky your teatowels will end up looking like Joseph’s Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, but somehow I doubt it.

As you can probably tell, I do like my beetroot, but I’m not sure I like it enough to justify using it as a motif for a bedcover. I’m finding it rather difficult to imagine what would possess a person to focus on a vegetable for a quilt. It strikes me as a bit bizarre, but it does look lovely and warm, and that’s the most important thing.

I think I’d still rather have a beetroot stew in the winter though.


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