This is a highly nutritious and cardiovascular health root vegetable that originates back in the Mediterranean. Over the years most people have tried to avoid it in their meals including most of the chefs because of its perceived earthy taste.
Although I happen not to be a great fun of beetroots I do like to eat it sparingly especially as a salad. It is very nutritious and its health benefits are the only reason it is still available in use. It is important to note that tastes differ because human beings have different taste buds, the method of preparation and storage will also be an influencing factor on the taste.
I know for a fact that this is a justified question if you have never tasted beets, but, don’t form an opinion based on the rumours by people rather taste it and read on to understand exactly how beets taste.
What exactly are beets
Beets are known to be edible tap root plants that originated from North America. Its leaves were mostly used throughout the world but the root was just discovered by French chefs to have more medicinal and nutritious value.
This vegetable is commonly used in a salad but some people use it in pasta and noodles, tart, lemonade and cakes. With a keen look, you will discover that this vegetable is versatile and its flavour is appropriate for many recipes.
What do beets taste like?
It’s hard to make a conclusive decision on the taste of the beet to different people. But, I must say this in order to understand this topic lets check the following subtopics.
How do raw beets taste like?
There are a number of people who can’t even taste the beet because of the common rumour but my personal opinion is its best eaten raw. In fact, the perceived earthy taste tastes good to me.
The taste differs according to preparation, most chefs will use it as a natural salad garnish/food colouring while in some countries there are recipes that exclusively have beets as a major ingredient to preparing some cooked and uncooked meals.
There are many other roots that are edible but only when cooked. The good news is that it can be eaten raw in various forms like: salads, beetroot juices and beet extracts. In fact, if you want to benefit greatly in health from it, eat it raw.
Why the earthy and dirt smell/taste?
The world has a generally formed opinion about beets. Whenever you mention it the only thing that comes to mind is the dirt like taste which is apparently appealing to other people while disgusting to another lot and they won’t even dare taste it.
Being a root crop most people think that beets have the soil/earth incorporate in its formation and even if you wash it, the dirt still remains within. This is a flawed premise.
The earthy taste is found in an organic compound formed from microbes that are found in soil and is called geosmin. It gives an earthy smell and freshly ploughed soil taste. This means that what you complain about so much is very natural and found in other vegetables like spinach, mushroom and lettuce.
To reduce the earthy taste, follow this preparation procedure and cooking tips
Currently, most people are avoiding unpeeled and unprocessed foods mostly because of the limited time to do most things in the house which means beetroots are also being left out.
However, here are the tips to use in preparing the beets.
- Choose the firm and fresh beets while avoiding the spongy ones
- Go for beets with dark green leafy tops
- After buying store them in your fridge until you are ready to use
- Clean and rinse the beets thoroughly before cutting or peeling it.
Remember, the preparation matters. If you prepare it keenly well you will want more of it while if you aren’t cautious it will be bad.
Important points to keep in mind
It’s wrong to say that the beets are dirty and that’s why they inhabit the dirt like taste. The taste comes from a natural compound called geosmin.
The saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is applicable here because most people don’t purchase it raw from the grocery store because of its unappealing to the eye. The rough skin may just misdirect you while if you forget the perceived ugly skin you are able to peel it off, cut into desired slices and shapes leaving you with an amazing colour blend for your salad or meal.
Its all about the taste that some people love while others don’t. if you are in the category of those who hate the beets you may blanch it and cook it in olive oil or even make it into chips to reduce the taste.
The cooking methods to alter the taste
If you are like me who up until now didn’t know we could cook beets to come up with some amazing dishes, this will be essential to you.
Most foodstuffs don’t taste as you would wish until you add some love and creativity to it.
The methods to apply are below
It gives the beets some extra concentrated flavour while removing the earthy flavour and adding the sweet taste. In addition, if you like the potato texture then this is for you.
This is the quickest yet easiest method to use which leaves you an ideal subdued flavour making it ideal for use in the meat dishes. In addition, boiling will soften the beets making it easy to mash and use in smoothies, soups, purees and making cookie or cake dough.
This is the fastest method to cook beets with the best food steamer being mechanical steamer for the best results although, you can make use of other available steamers in your kitchen to achieve the desired results.
Your delicious options for preparing the beets
Roast the beets
As discussed earlier roasting the beets make them taste so great. Take the clean beets and cut the ends off then cube the beets. Lay on the baking tray sprinkle with salt, pepper and your desired herbs and at a temperature of 400 degrees roast for 45 minutes to produce a caramelized flavour.
For the soup
Beet will taste as good as other vegetables that are normally used in soups. You can cut or slice them and toss in the soup then boil to make them tender as you boil with other vegetables.
The beet smoothies
Beets are naturally sweet vegetables and can be added to cacao then make a perfect chocolate smoothie. In a blender, put a few pieces of cubed beets, tablespoons of cacao, organic milk, Ice and spinach then blend to make a perfect smoothie.
Fry the seasoned beets in coconut oil or bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
The beetroot juices
This is very nutritious with amazing health benefits. Mix ginger and lemon to the beets then blend to produce the juice.
Choose the right herbs to use
Seasoning herbs will alter the taste and make you have a totally different flavour. Take your time on the seasoning part as this will be your impressing part, therefore, choose herbs that will help offset the earthy taste of beets.
- Basil is good because it will tone down the taste of the beet
- Chives can be used well with boiled beets
- Ginger, cumin, allspice and cloves are other powerful seasonings to use in subduing the earthy taste
- Thyme and rosemary have their own strong flavour as well as the aroma that can reduce the earthy taste.
Some of the major health benefits
Beets are among the healthiest foodstuffs in the world with the health benefits being discovered daily. Below are a few major benefits.
It contains a very low number of calories and fats, no cholesterol but has a lot of fibre, vitamins, minerals and is well known to be a great antioxidant.
Beet has a major component known as glycine betaine which aids in the reduction of homocysteine production in the blood and its effect is that it reduces the possibility of acquiring a coronary heart disease, stroke and vascular disease.
The raw beets have a high level of folates which helps in the DNA synthesis and prevents neural tubes defects.
It contains a lot of vitamins with the vitamin c component being a natural antioxidant that helps the body to remove harmful radicals in the body and cancer radical cells are also removed. Furthermore, the consumption of raw vegetables that are rich in vitamins and flavonoids help protect the lung and oral cavity cancers.
It also has some level of potassium that lowers the heart rate while increasing metabolism in the body.
I always say it doesn’t matter if the dish is going to be of more value to my body. Beets like you have seen has a great impact on your body and if you dislike it just because of the taste, you now understand that the earthy taste is natural and that you can play around with its preparation to come up with the desired taste.
For all those who have never tasted it, may I caution you against believing everything people say and ask you to taste it so as to answer our topic question yourself.