I am not a picky eater. I am not an adventurous eater either (my hubby and I fall definitely in the category of “creatures of habit”). Every once in a while though, I do pride myself on trying something new or healthy or…well, new at any rate.
We are part of an awesome CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which is a terrific program in which you pay a lump sum to a farm in the spring and in turn you receive a weekly share of whatever is harvested. It’s win-win: local farms get support (in the form of both cash and your presence, as many times you go to the farm to pick up your share) and you get fresh, seasonal, local produce. (Our farm is First Light Farm, which so far has been amazing; we pick up at the Farmer’s Market and get to snag more local goodies each week).
One other benefit is each week I receive items that I would not buy in the grocery store of my own volition. I recognize this quality as sheer laziness: if I can’t immediately recognize the item and think of a delicious recipe for it, chances are slim to nil that I will buy it. At any rate, last week’s selection included 5 medium beets. They were beautiful in the box, then on the countertop, albeit in a what-am-I-ever going-to-do-with-these sort of way.
In spite of my not being a picky eater, I don’t like beets. I have never actually tried them, but didn’t need to because I don’t really like them. (This logic is sound for me, but not for my kids by the way). I can trace the roots (pun intended) pretty easily: my mom doesn’t like beets. She never cooked them. We never had them. My mom was a good provider and cook, but beets were never on the menu. Other people liked and ate beets – just not me. I know that beets are good for you, that they have amazing health benefits and that other people who I admire actually like them, but in spite of all that, I am not a beet-eater.
As I was admiring the beets on my counter, or at least trying to not hate them because they looked like rodents with their long tails – ah, I mean roots – I smelled them. Yep, I did. They didn’t smell bad, exactly. They just smelled…beety. Staring down the tuberous roots, I knew I had to have a plan besides putting them directly into the compost and telling my family “You never saw the beets, understand?” So, I culled through my recipe binder and discovered a page that looked useful. It was titled Beet and Apple Puree, the color is amazing and the taste, delicious. I took a deep breath and decided to go for it.
The recipe was easy to follow, though not quick, as the beets needed to cook in boiling water for an hour (then be removed from their skins, which as it turns out is a colorful and squeamish process). While the beets are cooking, you sauté onions and butter, chop a few apples and toss those in, with some sugar and apple cider vinegar. Then you put it all together in the food processor. Viola!
But, still. It took me a good 5 minutes (which is a surprisingly long time when you are staring down a spoonful of bright red chutney looking stuff) before I could being myself to taste the tiniest bite. Once I did, I thought: this is not as disgusting as a) I thought it would be and b) it looks. It almost looks good, like a cranberry chutney you might serve at Thanksgiving. Almost, because when your nose gets close, it’s not cranberry. But it is sweeter than I thought and the apples counteract the beetiness of which I was leery. All in all, it might be something I’d serve alongside a pork chop and with mashed potatoes, so that a little of it could be in every bite. I don’t think I could eat it by the bowlful, or even by itself though.
Here’s to trying new things and discovering they aren’t as gross as you thought!