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The Story of Your Food: Beets

Posted 2/23/2018 3:19pm by Dennis Skoworodko.

Some people love them, some people hate them! Beets have, what I think, is a beautiful smell and taste. This aroma comes from geosmin.

 

Geosmin is an organic compound with a distinct earthy flavor and aroma produced by a type of Actinobacteria, and is responsible for the earthy taste of beets and a contributor to the strong scent that occurs in the air when rain falls after a dry spell of weather or when soil is disturbed. Its name is derived from the Greek γεω- "earth" and ὀσμή "smell".

The human nose is extremely sensitive to geosmin and is able to detect it at concentrations as low as 5 parts per trillion.

Geosmin breaks down in acid conditions- so, if you or your family are not fans of the smell/taste, you can use vinegar and other acidic ingredients in recipes to help reduce the geosmin flavor. One of our favorite recipes to use a vinegar is to cut the beets into matchsticks and stir fry them and put a sauce of apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey and sesame seeds. Very yummy even for people who are not fans of beets. 

Beets are so versatile! You can eat them raw (really nice grated on salads), steamed, boiled, in soups, pickled and roasted. The younger leaves are also so nice! We steam them lightly and a quick squeeze of lemon and a dash of salt - heaven! 

We grow the traditional red beet, and also a striped (red/white) beet and a golden beet. I find the red beets have the most depth of flavor and are the most robust for pickling. The striped and golden beets have far milder flavors, however not robust enough to stand up to pickling.

My mouth is now watering just writing about beets! Can’t wait for summer to tuck into these beauties again.  

Regards,

Dennis for the Our Farm Team    

 

 

Tags: Beets

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