Beets have been eaten since ancient times. In the I-II millennium BC. e. in the Mediterranean, it was grown as a medicinal plant. Initially, only its leaves were eaten, and the roots were used for medicinal purposes.
At the beginning of our era, the first cultivated varieties of this root crop appeared. The first mention of beets in Russia dates back to the X-XI centuries. It became widespread in the XIV century, and in the XVII there was a division into fodder and food varieties.
Fodder beets were bred in Germany, it is interesting that it differs from ordinary beets only in the high content of clove.
The peoples of the Balkans and Eastern Europe used beets to protect themselves from the plague. Beet juice was used in their recipes for medicines by many healers of antiquity: Avicenna, Hippocrates, Paracelsus.
The ancient Greeks appreciated this vegetable so much that gifts in gratitude were made in the form of a silver beet. Dishes from it were used to decorate tables of rich and noble people. The ancient Persians were somewhat prejudiced towards beets: although they ate them, they believed that beets were a symbol of gossip, quarrels and discord. Probably, in this case, the decisive role was played by the color of the vegetable, reminiscent of dark thick blood. If one of the neighbors was angry with the other, then at night he secretly threw a large root crop into his house, thus reporting his dislike.
Beets were also an attribute of the wedding process: the desired suitor in the bride's house was treated to jelly, and the unwanted one was treated to boiled beets.
In Russia, beets were baked in an oven and served with tea. According to legends, this vegetable was highly appreciated by the heroes, as they believed that it gives strength and helps fight various ailments. The beauties used beets for cosmetic purposes - they blushed her cheeks.
Sugar beet appeared after a number of selections only in 1747, and the sugar content in it reached 20 percent. Since the 18th century, sugar in Russia began to be made from sugar beets, completely abandoning imported sugar cane.
In the 20th century, all types of beets spread to all continents except Antarctica.