Originally from Mesopotamia, beets represent a large family of cultivated roots for various farms. Sugar beets are white, plump, and are used to produce sugar, not to mention bioethanol and biogas in full development. It was the famous French agronomist Olivier de Serres, who conceived the idea of extracting the sugar so present in this plant. A Prussian chemist developed the extraction process a few years later. Two hundred years later, sugar beets would become a real economy in Europe.
Fodder beets are made to feed animals, while garden beets are a gourmet’s delight.
Like tomatoes and eggplants, many old or distant varieties are available in shopping bags. Beets no longer show just a bright carmine red in the market stalls, but also a bright yellow (golden) or bright orange (golden burpee) color and spread in the flesh. He also dresses in white (albino) or becomes psychedelic with concentric circles of fuchsia and white (Chioggia, a Venetian variety).
Other beets, with very red flesh, take on forms other than the classic round: notably the Egyptian plate and the famous crapoudin, an old variety with a rough skin, a light and sweet taste.
Tricks to remove the slight taste of earth
Beets sometimes develop an unpleasant earthy taste. The culprit is a molecule called geosmin, whose effects can be almost completely eliminated with vinegar or lemon juice! Another tip: combine signature ingredients like smoked herring, haddock or even anchovies. In terms of spices, mustard, harissa and espelette pepper make a nice harmony.
► Autumn panzanella with beets
For 2 people
Preparation: 5 minutes
4 small cooked beets
8 cherry tomatoes, the last ones from the vegetable garden
2 tbsp. Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 c. teaspoon red wine vinegar
200 grams of leftover bread
2 spring onions
8 sprigs of cilantro
4 sprigs of purple basil
1 long pepper
Fine salt and ground pepper
Quarter the bread into cubes and cut the tomatoes in half or quarters. Season them with salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar. This way, the tomatoes will “return” their water which will be perfect for soaking the bread cubes.
Add cubed beets, thinly sliced spring onions, ringed bell peppers and chopped coriander. Adjust the seasonings, mix well and serve this salad full of different flavors and textures.
► Curd with beets and roasted seeds
Recipe for 8 jars
One liter of raw milk
Two cooked beets (about 250 grams)
Espelette pepper two pinches
A layer teaspoon of fine salt
Two sachets of freeze-dried ferment (8 grams each)
100 g mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy, hemp)
Mix milk and peeled beets. Strain, heat, let cool, and combine the ferment bags. Pour the beetroot milk into the small bowl of the yogurt maker and leave it overnight in the yogurt maker. Serve sprinkled at the last minute with the roasted seed mixture, ie heated for a few moments in a frying pan on high heat and without fat. This amazing yogurt goes wonderfully as an aperitif with raw vegetables, smoked fish, vegetable sticks.