Back in January, I made a list of fruits and vegetables with the resolution to learn to eat them in the new year.
Fast-forward to today, and, with the year winding toward autumn, I have made some progress.
I ate mustard greens and in spite of their odd brown-green color called them good.
After all, what’s not to like if they’re cooked in bacon grease?
Radishes turned out to be a pleasant surprise when we harvested our own crop this spring.
Mushrooms, however, will take some more work.
And then came beets.
The beet, like brussels sprouts or broccoli, is a vegetable that brings out strong emotions.
People seem to either love it or leave it alone.
Just for fun (and from genuine curiosity), I did a Google search for the phrases “I love beets” and “I hate beets.”
Fortunately for beet growers and marketers, “I love” wins with 247,000 results, while “I hate” turns up a paltry 139,000.
Even so, beets make up a relatively small amount of produce department sales.
According to The Packer’s 2011 Produce Availability and Merchandising Guide, beets, which are sold year-round, account for one-tenth of a percent of total retail produce sales.
In 2010, about 9.7 million pounds of beets were sold at retail, which is actually a slight increase from 9.2 million pounds in 2009.
The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story on Hempstead, N.Y.-based Gold Pure Food Products Co.
While Gold now sells a variety of condiments, in the 1950s it was well known for its bottled borscht, an Eastern European beet soup.
According to the Journal’s article, borscht’s heyday in the U.S. has long been over, but the company is looking for ways to make the purple soup popular once again.
Gold Food hopes an interest in healthy eating — or a fondness for “nostalgic” foods such as cupcakes and seltzer — can help its borscht gain a space in shopping baskets, the article says.
Hey, I like cupcakes and seltzer. Does that mean I might like borscht, too? That I could ... eat beets?
A friend of mine made homemade Ukrainian borscht recently and invited us over for samples.
As we sat down to eat, I stared at the vivid purple-red stew in my bowl, wondering if two ladles-full might have been one too many.
One person said, “I’m kind of nervous about this because I’ve never had beets, and they seem like something I might not like.”
Cautiously, we raised our spoons to our lips.
It was good. I tried an actual piece of beet, and that was good, too. Earthy, but good.
Almost everyone pronounced the borscht a success. The person who’d never had beets even went back for seconds.
Maybe after 24 years, I’ll actually learn to like beets. I’m open to recipe suggestions — as long as they don’t include mushrooms.
Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.