The secret to keeping beetroot a beautiful red when you bake it

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WITH its vibrant crimson hue, beetroot is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. It is great to bake with, and clever chemistry can help keep it pretty in pink.

Beetroot gets its colour from pigments called betalains. These include betacyanins, which are red-violet, and betaxanthins, which are yellow-orange. Some beetroot varieties, such as Chioggia, have alternating layers of red phloem tissue and unpigmented xylem, giving them a beautiful ringed pattern when sliced.

Beetroot, sugar beet and chard are all cultivars of the same species, Beta vulgaris. Betalains are found in a handful of plant species, …

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