Trying the Badger Flame Beet

I’m a huge beet fan, and a huge fan of trying new foods.  I’m also a huge fan of Row 7 Seeds, which is a seed company that focuses on breeding new produce items for flavor and nutrition.  We bought a bunch of their seeds (including Badger Flame Beets) and are in the process of growing them, and I can’t wait to report back on all of the different varieties that we have as they start to produce fruit!

My friends (and fellow Row 7 Seed fans) at Pickalittle Farm grew Badger Flame Beets for their spring crops this year, so we got to preview them this week from their harvest.  I was very excited to check them out, and now I’m even more excited to grow our own this year.

First of all, these beets are huge and so heavy!  These are very substantial, and they have made it to several meals so far (and I only got three to begin with).  The insides are absolutely gorgeous – incredibly vibrant yellow and orange rings.  They did stain my hands, knife, and cutting boards yellow for a bit, but it all washed out eventually.  Just think of the insane vitamin content that are in these – the Vitamin A and beta carotene content must be quite high based on this intense coloring.

These beets were bred to be able to eat raw due to increased sweetness and decreased earthy flavors.  The team at Row 7 Seeds discovered a way to breed out the gene in beets that produces geosmin, the flavor compound that is perceived as “earthy”.  With this gene removed, fewer earthy flavors develop in the beets, making a product that is more acceptable to consumers.  The typical complaint against not liking beets is attributed to that earthy flavor, and they worked to combat this problem to make the humble beet more well-liked in the world of vegetables. 

Although the earthy flavor in normal beets never bothered me personally, I would also never consider eating one raw (I always roast beets to bring out that sweetness).  The Badger Flame Beets passed the raw test with flying colors – they tasted really awesome!  Nice and sweet, with very good crunch and flavor.  I made a delightful salad pairing the raw beets with lentils that I’ll post next, which I have really been enjoying. 

So, if you see Badger Flame Beets available at your local farmers market or are lucky enough to get some in your next CSA, give them a try!  I will post my salad recipe next to serve as some inspiration as a place to start your Badger Flame Beet adventures, and I hope to have more recipes featuring these beets soon!

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