In the world of vegetables, there is one veggie that people have a love-hate relationship with.
Yes, we are talking about good old beets. Beets or beetroots are common vegetables.
And it is also quite versatile as you can enjoy them raw or cooked.
And who can ignore their distinct purple color?
If you like beets, you absolutely love them. If you don’t, you have an eternal hatred for them.
But what about those who have not yet tasted it?
If you are one of them, we are here to help you.
This article will answer the question, “what do beets taste like?” Let’s get to it.
What are Beets?
Beets belong to the Betoideae plant family.
When we talk about beets, we usually refer to the root part of the beet plant.
The leaf part is called beet greens or chard, while the root is called beetroots.
Beetroots are cultivated everywhere nowadays, but they have their origins in Europe.
These root veggies were also an essential part of Roman, Egyptian, and Greek diets.
Sandy soils and humid temperatures are the best-growing conditions for beetroots.
Additionally, they are a mainstay in several cuisines worldwide.
Beetroots taste great in everything from soups to salads.
Some popular beetroot dishes include borscht, botvinya, and svyokolnik.
Beetroots have a distinct color mix of purple and wine red.
This is due to the presence of a pigment called betalain.
These pigments are a rich source of antioxidants and are used as a food coloring.
What Do Beets Taste Like?
Beets taste slightly different when raw and cooked.
But the overall taste is a blend of earthy and mildly-sweet flavors.
People who dislike this taste also say beets taste like dirt.
When describing its taste, we refer to the standard purple beetroot.
In fact, there are various species of beets that differ in color and flavor.
The Detroit Dark Red variety has a strong taste which beet lovers find delicious.
In contrast, the Chioggia beetroot has a mild and slightly-sweet taste with an interesting interior pattern.
Golden beets are also sweet and gentle and look like potatoes when cooked.
The beet leaves have a bitter flavor, like kale but not as strong.
Fortunately, you won’t get this bitterness in the root flesh.
Beet greens are also edible raw or steamed in a salad, sauteed, etc.
Beets have a firm and crunchy texture when eaten raw.
They have distinct rings around them, similar to trees.
But beets become soft when cooked and have a buttery taste at times.
You can find similarities in flavor with chard, quinoa, or spinach.
These veggies all belong to the same family and have that earthy taste.
The reason for this dirt-like earthy taste is because of a chemical compound called geosmin.
Geosmin occurs due to specific organisms in the soil.
This gives beetroots that soil-like flavor and smell.
You can smell the same aroma when you go outside after a rainfall.
This is the reason why people like or dislike the taste of beetroots.
We are very sensitive to compounds like geosmin and find them either tasty or unpleasant.
How to Prepare and Serve Beets?
The best thing about beets is that you can blend them into many dishes.
Anything from steamed beets to a mixed veggie salad works excellently.
Let us look at some fun ways to prepare and serve beets.
You can peel the skin or leave it on.
If you go for the latter, wash them thoroughly to remove as much dirt as possible.
Plus, beet skins are healthy and contain essential nutrients.
Adding some beet slices to your veggie salad is a neat way to introduce a different flavor.
They also add a pop of color which is always appetizing.
Moreover, if you dislike munching on beetroots by themselves, salads are your best option.
You can also roast them to bring out the sweetness.
This also removes a little bit of that dirt-like taste from beets.
Pickling or fermenting beets is another way to minimize the strong smell and makes them more savory.
You can add some sweetness by making beet juice or smoothies.
And you can mix different fruits and veggies for a unique blend of flavors.
Beets taste delicious in soups as well. Some people also love adding beet slices to their burgers.
This adds an extra crunch and texture. Boil and mash them with sweet potatoes to fry some delicious latkes.
There is no reason why you should dislike beets.
In fact, their nutritional benefits outweigh the off-putting taste.
Beets are rich in potassium, vitamin C and B9, fiber, folate, etc.
So, there you have it. Now you have an idea of what beets taste like.
You also know why some people dislike its taste.
The earthy and dirt-like taste is a big reason why they receive all the hate.
But if you mix beets with different dishes, they will blow your mind.
This is a subtle way of adding its flavors without the beet taking the spotlight.
You can enjoy beets more by adding them to salads or as a garnish.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How should beets be prepared before consuming?
Beets can be boiled, roasted, grilled or eaten raw – depending on your personal preference.
However, it’s important to note that boiling them in water can sometimes reduce their nutritional value.
Additionally, make sure to wash the beets thoroughly before eating them as they can contain soil particles if not properly cleaned.
Can beets be consumed as part of a healthy diet?
Absolutely! Beets are a great source of vitamins and minerals such as folate, potassium and fiber – so adding them to your meals can help ensure you’re getting all the essential nutrients needed for a balanced diet.
Additionally, consumption of beets has been linked to various health benefits such as improved heart health and cognitive function.
What other flavors pair well with beets?
Beets have a sweet flavor and often pair well with other bold flavors like vinegar or lemon juice – which can help to balance out their sweetness.
Additionally, herbs and spices such as parsley, dill or thyme can also help enhance the flavor of the cooked beets.
Are there any risks associated with consuming too many beets?
Although rare, too much beet consumption could potentially lead to negative side effects such as discoloration of urine or stool due to the presence of betanin pigment in the vegetable.
Therefore, it’s best to eat them in moderate amounts unless directed by a healthcare provider.