January New Food Challenge: Beets

So you may remember that one goal I set for myself for 2018 was to try a new food or recipe every month.  Feeling a bit stuck in a rut with my menu, I wanted to branch out and find healthy foods to add in to the mix.  Well, here we are half way through February, and I’m just getting around to writing about my January food adventure.  But better late than never, right?  And at least I did try a new food in January!

This is what I brought home in my shopping bag.  A lot of my Facebook friends guessed what I was trying.  Any thoughts?

If you guessed beets, you’re right!

I can’t say I’ve never had beets.  My mom used to grow them in her garden and pickle them, but I never liked them as a child.  To this day, I’m not big on pickled things.  But I decided to try beets again because they are just so darn healthy.  You can read more about the amazing beet here.

Never having prepared beets myself, I wasn’t sure what to do.   Should I eat them raw or cook them?  How do I cook them?  Google taught me that beets can be eaten raw or cooked and made into salads and other dishes.  I decided to just stick with the beet so I could really taste the flavor.

First, I decided to try them raw.  The tricky thing was trying to peel that sucker!  It kept jumping out of my hand, forcing me to chase it around the kitchen counter.  My hands (and counter) got stained a lovely shade of pink from the beet juice!  But eventually, my vegetable peeler won out and I got that beet peeled and chopped.So here I am about to try raw beets for the first time.  I’ve discovered as I’ve gotten older that I’m a bit of a picky eater and not too adventurous about trying new things, so I wasn’t too sure about this beet.I initially noticed the amazing crunch of a raw beet, like a carrot.  But the taste!  My first thought was, “Holy cow, it tastes like dirt!”  Yeah, growing up in the country, dirt found its way into my mouth a time or two so I do actually know what dirt tastes like!  But the beet wasn’t disgusting; it just had a very earthy flavor.  I tried another bite with a bit of salt.  Definitely better.  And then I tried a suggestion I’d read about:  lemon juice and cayenne pepper.  Not bad!  For just eating a plain, raw beet, the lemon juice and pepper combo was definitely my favorite.

Next, I tried roasting beets.  I was roasting an acorn squash, so I just wrapped a beet in foil and put it in the oven with my squash.  Peeling a roasted beet is MUCH easier than peeling a raw beet!  Rubbing the roasted beet with a paper towel removed the peel easily.  And I have to say, roasted beets taste a lot better to me than raw beets.  The earthy flavor is still there, but it wasn’t as strong.

Discovering that roasted beets aren’t too bad, I decided to throw them in with some other veggies I was roasting, in this case sweet potatoes, carrots, and onions.  I seasoned the lot with a little olive oil, sea salt, and garlic powder.  And again the beets were okay, earthy but tolerable.So the question of the month:  will beets be making a regular appearance in my menu?

I don’t know.  I didn’t HATE them, but I think I’ll need to acquire a taste for them, or maybe find that perfect way to prepare them.  I’ll definitely keep trying them in different ways, maybe try a recipe that uses beets or in a salad.  For the health benefits alone, I’d like to eat beets regularly.

So onward and upward!  It’s February and time to try something new again!  What will it be this time?!

Talk to me:

Beets–yay or nay?

What’s your favorite way to eat beets?  Care to share your favorite beet recipe with me?