Bull’s Blood is a type of beet and it’s considered to be an heirloom vegetable. It’s considered to be a rare vegetable and it’s mostly sold to restaurants directly or to high end farmers markets. The plant is known for its deep red color which adds variety to the plate.
It’s mostly used as a part of a green vegetable mixes and not on its own, even though there are salads and stir fried dishes that use it as its main ingredient. The rules for growing and harvesting it are the same as they are with most beets.
Bull's Blood Trivia
- It’s created from a French plant called crapaudine, which is a type of beet.
- Bull’s blood was first grown for its leafs and not the root.
- That variety of beets is one of the oldest in use.
Bull's Blood Buying Guide
The color and the firmness of the root are the best indicator of how fresh the plant is. You should look for the plant with dark red roots and dark red leafs. There should also be no blemishes and dark spots on the leafs and it should appear to be fresh as well.
The root should be firm to the touch and it should feel heavy for its size if everything is as it should be with the plant. It’s also common to buy the seeds of the bull’s blood and to grow the leafs yourself as a microgreen plant.
Bull's Blood Production & Farming in Texas
“Bull’s Blood” beets (Beta vulgaris “Bull’s Blood”) are an annual vegetable, growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 2 through 11, that reaches 8 to 18 inches tall with red leaves and 2- to 3-inch-wide dark red roots.
Even though it’s not a plant that’s commonly grown or a staple of American cuisine, it’s still rather easy to grow and those who have had some experience with growing other beets shouldn’t have a problem with growing this one as well.
The acidity of the soil is the most important feature needed to get high yields. It’s also important to have enough organic matter, mostly as compost that will allow you to plant the bull’s blood in fertile soil. This will improve both the texture and the drainage of the soil.
The harvest is done by pulling the plants out of the ground when they are about 1 to 2 inches tall. It’s also important to thin the beets over time in order not to allow them to stop one another from growing and draining each other’s resources.
Beets are thin-skinned and grow underground and absorb pesticides and heavy metals. There is residue of pesticides in them for weeks after they’ve been used.
It’s believed that this beet is an heirloom beet produced in France and that it’s spread from there to pretty much around the world since it’s easy to produce. It’s not a popular plant in the US but it’s catching on now when there’s a foody crowd that’s looking for ways to liven up boring and ordinary vegetables such as beets.
They are mostly produced near urban areas where they are sold directly to restaurants and high end chefs.
There’s no need to be careful with packaging bull’s blood beets since their own natural appearance and skin will protect them from the dangers of the move. This means that they are mostly kept in boxes and cardboard containers and sometimes wrapped in a sheet of plastic wrap.
It’s also common to leave the leafs and even some dirt on with the beet and thus prove that they are freshly grown and freshly dug out of the ground.
Enjoying Bull's Blood
These beets can be eaten and prepared just like any other and you may end up with a bit of different dished all the same, due to their mild flavor. They can be eaten raw or in salads and there they are best mixed with spicy vegetables and ingredients.
They can also be stir fried and steamed in a pan. In these recipes they go well with rich and decadent meat and they add a balance to the dish containing it.
Beets could be stored for a long time. They shouldn’t be peeled before storage and you can remove the leafs and the root bottom of the plant if you want to. The beets should then be placed in a plastic bag and it’s important that there’s no water in it.
When they are treated this way red beets could be stored in a fridge for as much as 3 months.
Here’s a simple recipe for roasting bull’s blood which makes for a great and nutritious salad that can be made into a meal of its own.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Trim tops and bottoms off of beets and scrub well. Toss to coat in olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the beets in the center of a square of foil; bring up and cinch the sides of the foil to form a sealed packet. Put the packet in a baking dish.
Roast until fork-tender, anywhere from 25-40 minutes, depending on the size and number of beets. Check earlier to make sure you don’t overcook them.
When the beets are done, take them out of the foil packet and let them cool. Once they’re cool enough to handle, take half a sheet of paper towel in each hand and gently rub the beets to remove the skins. (The paper towel tip is courtesy of Thomas Keller’s ad hoc cookbook, which I mentioned in an earlier post about the best chocolate chip cookies ever, and it works like a charm! No need for those fancy-pants scrubby gloves.) Depending on the size of the beets, cut them in half or quarters.
Wash the salad greens and spin dry.
Mix the lime juice and honey in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil until you have an emulsified dressing.
Beets are also a source of betaine, a type of antioxidant that’s evident in its rich, red-colored roots. The beet root is also a notable source of manganese, folate, and vitamin B2. Beets are also a source of potassium, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines says supports bones and muscles, containing about 259 mg per ½ cup serving, meaning they offer about 5.5 percent of the DV