If you always go to the salad bar buffet, I am sure that you have seen beets. This is a root vegetable that usually is placed next to buttered croutons and shredded cheese. But you didn’t really pay attention to it, right? That’s why you have no idea how to answer the question “what do beets taste like?”
I am not the biggest fan of beets, either. But through the years I have learned to appreciate this vegetable. Sure, it isn’t the most popular or most delicious food out there. But it can hang with pretty much every vegetable if we are to talk about nutrition.
You may have also heard that beets taste like dirt. Is this really true? Well, read on and find out.
What are beets?
Beets are one of the numerous cultivated varieties of the species Beta Vulgaris. In North America, it is also known as table beet and golden beet. It’s a winter vegetable that is most popularly used in salads. But it can also be used in other ways like pasta, lemonade, tart and cake!
And why not? Beets have a natural sweetness that makes them a very versatile ingredient. It can be used as an entrée for dessert.
What are the health benefits of beets?
As I mentioned earlier, beets are among the most nutritious foods you’ll ever consume. It is rich in nitrates that have been associated with good blood pressure. Our bodies convert nitrates to nitric acid which relaxes and dilates blood vessels. This improves the transport of blood to various parts of the body.
Nitrates have also been linked to improved physical performance and endurance. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, cyclists who drank beet juice were found to pedal up to 15 percent longer in a time trial compared to those who didn’t drink the said supplement.
Regular consumption of beets can also lower your risks of heart diseases. This vegetable is rich in betaine and folate which combine to lower blood levels of homocysteine, a non-protein amino acid that can increase risks for heart-related ailments.
Beets can also improve digestion and brain function. It can also increase your body’s resistance against chronic diseases like breast cancer.
How does it taste like?
Sure, beets have that earthy flavor. Some people even go to describe it as dirt-like. But do you know that this flavor can be negated by how you prepare beets?
The earthy flavor of beets is due to an organic compound called geosmin that is produced by microbes in the soil. Our noses are very sensitive to this compound. Some people like it while other will practically cover their noses when they smell it.
And beets aren’t the only vegetables that have geosmin. Other vegetables such as lettuce, spinach and mushrooms have high levels of this organic compound. It’s also present in certain freshwater fishes like catfish.
Perhaps the reason why there’s a negative impression about the taste of beets is the exposure of many people to beets as a canned product. I do remember having to deal with canned beets when I was younger. I thought it sort of ruined the taste of other foods on my plate back then.
Or maybe fresh beets don’t look good at all, what with their roots dangling like hair.
But as you will realize, you can improve the taste of beets with how you prepare it.
Five delicious options for preparing beets
You don’t have to settle with canned beets. Here are five ways to make beets more palatable:
Beets taste good when roasted. Simply cut off the ends then chop into cubes. Place it in a baking pan then sprinkle it with salt, pepper and herbs like oregano.
Roast it for 45 minutes at a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll love its caramelized flavor that even tastes better when you add it to a salad.
Use in a smoothie
I’ve mentioned how beets are naturally sweet, so it should not be a surprise to use them in a smoothie. When paired with cacao, it can further improve the taste of a chocolate smoothie.
Simply put two small cubes of beets in a blender with a couple of tablespoons of cacao, organic milk, spinach and ice. This should make a delicious smoothie that can keep you going for hours.
Fry beets in coconut oil seasoned with salt and pepper. You can also bake them for 45 minutes at a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are into vegetable juices, why don’t you try beetroot juice? Mix it with lemon and ginger for a good low glycemic drink.
Beets aren’t the most delicious vegetable out there but it is definitely as bad as others would like you to believe. If you follow my suggestions above, then I guarantee you will appreciate beets, too.
Did you learn anything from this article? If you do, please share this on your Facebook or Twitter. Let’s make other people realize how nutritious and versatile beets can be!