So let’s talk beets…love them or hate them, whichever side you pick it’s likely that half the world agrees with you.
Beets haters think they taste like dirt while beet enthusiasts affectionately call them earthy. I readily admit I’m usually in the former camp, but am intent on giving the knobby roots a fair shake. They might not look like much from the outside but beneath their rough exterior lies a bevy of vitamins and minerals that support our body’s natural detoxification processes.
Apparently that dirt-like taste isn’t actually dirt but rather geosmin, an organic compound that is thought to either be a by-product of beet metabolism or produced by soil-microorganisms that are taken up by the beets as they grow and mature.
Enter yellow or golden beets, a variety of beets that is typically milder than the more common red ones (not to mention less likely to stain your hands and kitchen towels.) While more delicate in taste, it wasn’t until I tried them raw that I truly came to appreciate their full potential.
Mandoline in hand I shaved the sturdy root into sunny yellow coins. Shaved paper-thin and paired with equally thin slices of sweet young carrots and peppery radishes the “earthy” taste took a back seat to the symphony of crunch and freshness.
A zippy Dijon mustard vinaigrette laced with coriander adds edge and bite to the shaved vegetables and what results is a cool summer salad bursting with colors and crunchy texture.
When choosing beets go for the smaller specimens with the bright greens still attached as they will be all the more tender when raw. And while you’re at it don’t forget the greens, they are delicious and rich in nutrients as well, just prepare them like you would spinach or chard.
So let’s have it; are you a beet lover or hater?