Last night, we dined at a local Mediterranean restaurant, feasting on shawarma, falafel, mixed makaly, tabouli, and pita bread. They keep a container of cold beet juice next to the lemonade, so I had two full glasses. They said the secret ingredient was orange juice. My husband won’t touch it because he says it tastes like dirt. Evidently, it’s the geosmin, an organic compound that you can smell in the air after a rain shower. Yes, that earthy odor. I love it.
In the 1920s, Nebraska met the growing need for sugar with beets, as cane sugar thrived only in warmer climates. Pictured above is a western Nebraska beet sugar mill, with two young men in the foreground. The pile weighed in at 22,000 tons. While Minnesota is the top state producer of sugar beets, Nebraska ranks 6th and has been at it for over 100 years. In fact, a town built solely to process the yearly tons of beets was named Melbeta, which means “sweet beet” in German.
What about you? How do you feel about beets?