Question for the Beet haters out there, do you turn your nose up at mushroom, spinach and lettuce too? If you lump these foods in with beets under the “tastes like dirt” camp, it’s not your fault. You really are just as cool as those Beet Salad lovin’ Hipsters.
It’s Geosmin that’s to blame.
People have varying sensitivity levels to Geosmin. Translation, that sweet, earthy smell turns into dirty in your brain. Which really, is just a polite way of saying, these foods taste like sh!t to you. For that I’m sorry, you are missing out.
The fine folks at Brown University explain:
“Geosmin, the organic compound responsible for the scent, is produced by an unusual bifunctional enzyme.”
Yeah, I know, what? It gets rather technical with the chemists at Brown, but the NPR folks explain it from a more culinary friendly point of view.
In short, Beets high in Geosmin have a stronger, more dirty, metallic flavor. Some people, like me for example, think that’s a good thing. I like earthy notes, in my beets, mushrooms and even my wine. While biting or sipping, if I can close my eyes and smell the sunlight hitting the earth, that warm, grounded scent, I’m in heaven. To taste it, divine.
Yeah, I hear you, this isn’t the smell-o-net and licking your screen always results in “Weirdo Foodie” glances, so let me see if I can get you there visually.
Imagine a barefoot tour in a vineyard on a warm summer day.
Or walking under clear skies full of puffy white clouds.
Did that help? No. Ok sorry, you’ll have to trust me or go outside and run around in the sun a bit. If you’re still trepidatious at the thought of tripping into the world of Beets, let your new found knowledge of Geosmin bring you hope.
Beets with lower Geosmin are sweeter in flavor, which likely appeals to a wider variety of people. Just Beet It It has a clear easy to understand breakdown of the different types of Beets. A Detriot Dark Red Beet just might be your best bet.
Roasted Beets, not the craptastic canned versions so many of us had around Thanksgiving or Easter dinners, but the real slow roasted deal are worth all this drama. No really look:
Outside of their flavor and health benefits… like quickly lower your blood pressure, boosting your immune system and stamina kinda healthy perks, they are EASY. Beets are not at all a precious food to cook with and they require few steps, no babysitting and barely any ingredients.
- 4 Beets (varying colors and types if possible)
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
- 1 Lemon
- Remove Leafy Green Stems (save for juicing, salads, etc)
- Scrub skins clean
- Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, wrap in aluminum foil
- Roast in the middle of your oven for 45 to 60 minutes at 375°
- Similar to a potato, when your fork comes out easy, they are done
- Let cool for a few minutes and pull off skins
- Slice and plate
- I went for Greek Yogurt spiked with Lemon Juice and a drizzle of olive oil with Parsley for show