I buy veggies from local store (not organic). When I cook, I get the soil smell from it. How can I avoid it? any precooking process can help?

Thanks in advance.

  • 2
    If you don't like earthy smells or flavors then beets may not be for you.
    – GdD
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 8:46
  • I am fine with earthy smell, but in organic ones this smell is less.
    – Vaandu
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 20:23

2 Answers 2


Beetroots do have an earthy smell, that's normal and can get stronger if you just cook them in water. I can think of two approaches to work with this:

  • Try roasting them in an oven (optional: wrapped in some aluminum foil) until tender. They will develop a sweetness whith perhaps some earthy undertones.
  • Add an acidic component like vinager or lemon juice to the cooked beets and let rest for a few hours (or pickle them).

But you might consider how/where the beets were grown: If the "soil" smell is too strong, it might be because there was too much fertilizer or manure in the soil, which beets tend to absorb.

  • Thanks for the ideas. I might have to go to organic I think, will give a try.
    – Vaandu
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 20:25
  • I came here to find out how to enhance the earthy smell/taste. I’ve got a thing for the soil smell, and it’s also my cologne.
    – Kevin Li
    Commented May 13, 2017 at 16:53

The two molecules which have been identified as responsible for the smell of soil are geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol, the latter typically abbreviated MIB. As iterated here,

Human’s can smell concentrations as low as 10 parts per trillion of Geosmin and MIB in water.

And while methods of remediation (removal) have been identified and employed for

water supplies, aquaculture products and wine,

there's not yet any determined method by which to extract these molecules for things non-aqueous.

In short, meats and vegetables which have absorbed these molecules are not such that they can be altered to remove them. And because the human nose is so particularly sensitive to them, (probably because they represent in soil the presence of water), all that's really left is to mask these odors with something even stronger. You may think therefore to prepare your beets with garlic, ginger, or one of any number of strong aromatics.

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