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The word beet is probably of Celtic origin. Latin borrowed it as beta, and passed it on to the prehistoric ancestor of the modern Germanic languages—hence German beete and Dutch and English beet. It is applied to a variety of related plants of the goosefoot family that are cultivated mainly for their large bulbous edible root. In British English the term is most usually reserved for the white-fleshed type from which sugar is made (the sugar beet), but in American English beet, or more fully red beet, commonly denotes the red-fleshed variety which in Britain is called the beetroot. The mangel-wurzel is also a type of beet, and there is a further variety, the spinach beet, more generally termed Swiss chard, which is grown for its edible leaves.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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