Beta vulgaris, also known as ‘beterraga’ or beetroot, is an annual herbaceous plant from the Chenopodiaceae family with a straight, thick, bushy stem between one and two meters in height. Its leaves are large, whole and oval with a reddish central nerve. Its flowers, located at the end of the main stem, are small and greenish. It can be consumed as a dry fruit with a medium-sized, fleshy and copious root, which is edible, and from which sugar is extracted.
Its superficial skin is soft and fine and comes in various colors ranging from violet-pink to reddish and brownish orange. The pulp is sweet and usually a deep red crimson shade with hints of purple. The purplish part is the portion oftentimes used for human consumption. The red color of the beetroot is due to its pigments containing betacyanin and betaxanthin. These pigments are not digested, hence when we consume beets, the end digestive result is reddish-colored feces and urine.
The most common use of this plant is as a vegetable, which is usually cooked. However, it also has other related food uses, such as to extract sugar and E162 coloring known as beet red. This coloring is used in food industries to bestow color onto various products, including soups, liquors, ice cream, etc.