There are many reasons to love locally grown beets, they are affordable, easy to prepare, and available almost year-round. Beets are full of nutrients and vitamins not commonly found in other vegetables. According to the Cleveland Clinic, they are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. But, for many reasons, beets have earned a tough reputation in the United States.
People either love them or hate them. Their “earthy” flavor comes from a compound called geosmin, which is also the same compound that we associate with the smell of “fresh rain” and “forest soil”. Some people are much more sensitive to this compound than others, that is why some people say they taste like dirt, and others love them. There are a few ways that beets can be prepared that mask their “earthy” flavor that will make even skeptics appreciate beets.
3 Ways to Cook Beets So They Don’t Taste Like Dirt:
Pair them with bright, fresh flavors- By adding vinegar, lemon juice, fresh herbs, tangy cheese or yogurt to your dish, you will help balance the flavor. This is why you commonly see roasted beets and goat cheese together.
Roast or sautee them – The most popular, and arguably most versatile preparation for beets is to roast them. Some people roast, then remove the skins, others use a veggie peeler to remove the skin before roasting. If they are grown organically, you can scrub them well and keep the skin on if you choose! Roasted beets are a great side dish, salad topping, and snack option.
Eat them raw- Choose firmer beets and thinly slice, grate, or spiralize them and dress with a little vinegar and oil. Use as toppings for salads, tacos, wraps, and whatever you enjoy.
Spiralized Sesame Beet Salad
Adapted from a recipe by Grace Elkus, Associate food editor at Real Simple
- 1 lb (8 cups) beets spiralized or shredded using a spiralizer tool, food processor, or box grater
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons vinegar of your choice
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (or other vegetable oil)
- 2 teaspoons freshly-grated ginger (2-inch piece)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro (optional)
- Heat sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden brown and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.
- In a large bowl, toss together beets, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, ginger, soy sauce, lime juice, kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste, and fresh herbs if using. Serve right away, or prepare ahead and keep refrigerated.
Where to Buy Local Beets
You can find beets wherever local veggies are sold near you! Find farmers’ markets, local food retail locations, and farmstands open during the winter at AdirondackHarvest.com.