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I enjoy the "earthy" flavor of beets -- I would like to know:

  • What way(s) of preparing beets result in the most earthy flavor?

  • And are certain types of beets known for tasting earthier?

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Variety-wise there are many beet types, I have grown a few and I've found that red beet varieties have earthier flavors rather than golden ones. Larger beets of the same variety tend to be less sweet and more earthy than smaller ones. I'm not going to weigh in anymore on varieties as I simply don't know, the gardening stackexchange site might be a better place for that question.

Cooking-wise if you want an earthy flavor then I'd suggest baking the beets as opposed to steaming them (don't boil them, ever) as the dry oven will help concentrate their flavor. Leave the skin on, then peel them once the cooking process is done. It isn't going to make a massive difference, but it should be noticeable depending on the variety.

  • Baking has been highest flavor I have had.. Skin on as you suggest, just a sprinkle of olive oil in aluminum foil until soft. They then peel easily and mess is in the foil for easy discard. If you include at least part of the stem and maybe some greens in it may increase the earthiness as well. – dlb Jun 12 '17 at 18:14
  • Any effect of baking time on flavor? – Colin Jun 13 '17 at 2:09
  • 1
    Baking concentrates beets' flavor but you can overdo it, if you overcook them a lot you'll impact their texture. Bake them until you can stick a skewer in them easily, more than that I wouldn't recommend. – GdD Jun 13 '17 at 7:21
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I take each beet, trim it, wrap it in foil and then toss them in the oven (probably best on a baking sheet - in case you didn't wrap so well - juices could run out). I generally go at 400-450 or so from 30 minutes to an hour or more depending on the size of the beets. This gives you the roast flavor, but keeps in all the concentrated juices. Big bonus - if you are cooking various colors of beets at the same time the colors won't bleed into each other. I've served beets cooked this way to "non-beet eaters" and they have thoroughly enjoyed them, so there is certainly a difference in taste.

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