Do you like beets?

As a thank-you, my neighbor gifted me with a wildly generous pile of the last of her garden’s produce. I came home from work and found half a dozen HUGE butternut squash, twenty or so heads of garlic (which might last me a month), some NICE looking leeks and two big buckets full of beets (sadly with greens already removed). Most of the beets are in the nice, convenient 2-3 inch range but there’s a few of them that would probably make a good “blunt trauma” murder weapon.

I love pickled beets. I’ve never actually made them myself but I know they’re not difficult. I’m currently looking up how to preserve them in caning jars and when they’re finished, I could horse through these in a couple of weeks.

That’s kind of limiting though. Plain, roasted beets are kind of tasty for me but maybe I’m not cooking or spicing them correctly. Do you have any favorite beet recipes, tips or tricks you would be willing to share?

Roasted beets are all well and good, but to me they are just a base for better things. Try drizzling them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and/or topping with goat or feta cheese.

I think our most common treatment for them, after roasting, is dicing them and marinating in a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and cumin and eating cold.

And of course, there’s always my Soviet Study Abroad roomie Irina Marchenko’s Fabulous, Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink Ukrainian Borsch!

There’s borscht, of course.

They’re quite good deep-fried as crisps.

And make a nice addition to hummus.

Not after what happened to Mrs. Howell.

Can’t stand beets; not too fond of Dr. Dre, either.

My parents are both Polish-born, so I believe I am genetically required to like beets.

Yes, I do like beets. My favorite beet recipe for people who don’t typically enjoy beets (but are not completely taste-averse to them) is a beet version of rösti. Lemme see if I could dig up the recipe; it’s pretty straightforward, just beets and rosemary and salt, pretty much.

Ah, yes, here it is. (Actually, I found it originally on the NYTimes site many years ago, but the original article is under a paywall now – even no X amount of free views a month for their cooking section.)

Otherwise, yeah, typically for me I like them pickled as a side, or, of course, in one of myriad versions of borscht. The Polish version I grew up with is quite different than chunky Ukrainian and Russian versions. It’s a clear soup, almost like a consommé, made with both fresh and soured components, and often served either with a tortellini-like pasta called uszka or with a meat croquette. Here’s some example recpies. It is very good even drunk from a mug (as they would, and probably still do, serve it up in various cafes/canteens up in the Tatra Mountains. I also like it that way on a cold winter’s day with a good healthy kick of ground black pepper.) Heck, they even sell instant barszcz that way with a picture of it in a mug right on the packaging.

Another one I like, and this is going for the opposite season, is a cold creamy beet soup called chłodnik in Polish or saltibarsciai in Lithuanian. There’s a Lithuanian restaurant here I go to a couple times a year, and I love it so much I order it no matter the season. Here’s a recipe. That recipe has it made with buttermilk, but it can also be made with kefir, and I’ve also seen recipes that mix sour cream and buttermilk or sour cream and yogurt, etc. Basically, you’re looking for a soured milk base of some sort. That one is one of my favorite summer soups (think Eastern European gazpacho!) but you do have to at least somewhat like the taste of kefir/buttermilk/sour cream. The restaurant I go to always serves it with a small roasted potato alongside.

Beets are one of the few foods I truly do not like, and I’ve tested this out repeatedly every few years since the 1960’s. I’ve tried it on multiple varieties of beets, prepared multiple ways. Mom loved beets, so I’ve long thought I’d grow into a taste for them, the way I did for previously despised mushrooms, brussel sprouts, and spinach. But no dice. I do not like beets.

Once in a great while I’ll get a hankering for beets and have some. Used to be canned ones years ago but now fresh ones.

Then I realize how “earthy” they taste. If it wasn’t for that they’d be … okay. But that soil taste makes them less than okay.

Beets taste like dirt … and so do snails.

Same here. My wife loves them, but I can’t even abide the smell of them. At least we agree on our loathing for brussels sprouts. I also can’t eat bitter greens, for some reason. They upset my stomach. I’ve been trying to tell me wife this for 25 years, but she still insists on putting them on the table.

Beets are fine, except for the inevitable “Take me to the Emergency Room!” scare the first time you take a pee after eating them.

I also dislike the earthy taste (I think it also tastes of umami as well): surprisingly strong for something looking so insipid. They smell and look okay so every once in awhile I try some if they are offered. They’re not so bad that I can’t finish what I’ve dished out to myself, but they’re not my cup of tea.

I am a big fan of the earthy taste of beets, but I did not like them until I discovered eating them raw. When they are cooked, the texture becomes a problem for me.

This is the earthiest salad you will ever eat:

Peel and and shred enough raw beets to mound about 1/2 cup per serving. Add equal amounts of olive oil, honey and balsamic vinegar to moisten the beets nicely. Salt and pepper to taste.

For each salad, lay down a bed of arugula. Top with beet mixture, then crumble some goat cheese over the top.

I love beets for this!

Australians apparently use beets as a topping on hamburgers, the way we would use tomatoes or onions. I believe they use pickled beets. I’ve never tried it myself but it could be something to look into.

My late Kiwi/Aussie husband adored pickled beets on his hamburgers. Also a fried egg. He had an easier time getting the fried egg than the pickled beets, unless we made them at home.

And when we did, that was a burger consumption from which my eyes remained fiercely averted.

Yeah, well they also consider Vegemite to be food, when everyone knows it’s just dirt in a jar.

I like to use them as part of a vegetable juice mix in my juicer.

As for eating them, I don’t really care for them ( texture and strong “dirt” taste ) but I will eat them if decorum requires it.

This, almost word for word.

Hard pass.

I like beets a lot, and don’t understand the comments about their “earthy” taste.

And especially, borscht with sour cream.

I developed an antipathy towards beets when they were served in the school cafeteria cooked but cold, bleeding their nasty purple juice.

Since then I’ve occasionally eaten cooked beets of other colors (i.e. orange) and had them raw in salads.

I now view them as OK*, but I don’t seek out beet-containing dishes or grow them in the vegetable garden. I rank them just above rutabaga but not as good as turnips.

*as long as they’re not cold and bleeding purple.
**my grandfather used to enjoy borscht, which looked almost as repulsive to me as gefilte fish.

One of the very few foods that I truly cannot stand or stomach.
I’ve had to fight back the urge to vomit when in a very very expensive exclusive restaurant where one of the courses were beets. It would have been a serious faux pas to not eat them, and even worse if I did puke.
But I managed to get them down without anyone the wiser, I hope.