How were beets discovered?
Here's a topic for your next cocktail party:
The beet got a glow up in the 1700s when they discovered they could make sugar from beets.
In 1747 Andreas, (This guy) a chemist from Berlin, discovered a way to produce sucrose from beets and the first sugar beet factory was funded by the King of Prussia in 1802. Today, around 20% of the world’s sugar comes from sugar beets. His student, Franz Achard, perfected this method for extracting sugar, leading him to predict the inevitable rise of beet beer, tobacco and molasses, among other products. Beta Vulgaris, or beetroot, was first consumed by Mediterranean cultures around 2,000 BC, but only the leaves that were eaten at this time.
The leaves of beets were even used as binding treatments for wounds. However, It was also used as an aphrodisiac. ❤️ An old tale claims that in some cultures, falling in love was due to a couple eating from the same beetroot.
They are said to have grown in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The Elizabethans enjoyed them in tarts and stews. Thomas Jefferson planted them at Monticello. Medieval cooks stuffed them into pies.
Humans originally ate beet greens but not the thin and fibrous roots, which were occasionally used in medicine. The large beet leaves and stalks were consumed like chard, a close relative.
The root part of the beet was cultivated for consumption in either Germany or Italy, first recorded in 1542.
It's earliest form more closely resembled a parsnip rather than the bulbous shape we're now familiar with, which began appearing near the end of the 1500s
This variety is thought to have evolved from a prehistoric North African root vegetable.
Soon it became the most recognizable form of beet, but it wasn't a worldwide culinary success until two centuries later. Northeastern Europe was the first area to embrace the beet root as a dietary staple; it was valued as one of the only vegetables that grew well throughout winter.
Beet sugar production requires 4 times less water than sugar cane production, making it an attractive crop throughout Europe as well as in more arid countries like Egypt.
The first plant was built in what is now western Poland. It turned out to be a solid investment. Today, around 20 percent of the world's sugar comes from sugar beets.
Beets contain a substance called geosmin, which is responsible for that fresh soil scent in your garden following a spring rain. Humans are quite sensitive to geosmin, even in very low doses, which explains why our beet response ranges from one extreme to the other.
In the anti-beet camp are President Obama and his wife Michelle, who asked that they not be planted in the White House's organic vegetable garden