Jews have eaten beets since the time of the Babylonian captivity; they probably learned about them from the Babylonians, who were already eating them. In fact, the oldest so-called cookbook in the world comes from Babylonia, written in 1700 BCE. It includes 44 recipes on Cuneiform tablets written in Akkadian, and it includes a recipe for—guess what—beet borscht.

There are dozens of types of borscht; some don’t even include beets. In the colder months, I enjoy so-called “winter borscht,” which includes meat and vegetables. But summertime, for me, means cold borscht, specifically the dairy variety, to which I add apples and spices, and reduce the amount of sugar that was traditionally used.

Borscht was one of the first processed soups, sold in clear jars by Gold’s and Mother’s. But there’s no reason you can’t make your own. I serve mine (recipe here) with sour cream on top and sprinkled with bright green dill.

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