Interesting Facts about Borshch
- Borshch used to be made from cow parsnip!
Cow parsnip’s young shoots were used in Russian food and added to soups, since a mature plant is poisonous. From this plant emerged the name of “borsch soup.”
- Potatoes and tomatoes were added to Borshch beginning only in the 20th century
When potatoes came around, they were added to borscht by cutting into cubes or strips. Later tomatoes began being added to borshch as well.
- Every housewife has her own recipe.
It is believed that the standard borshch recipe does not exist, as the variations are so numerous. However, there are certain traditions of cooking borshch, which are specific to certain regions. For example, there is a “Kiev” borshch, with bacon and beans, a “Moscow” one with sausage, and even a “Lithuanian” borshch which is served cold. During the summer, Russians often cook green borshch, with sorrel and greens instead of cabbage.
- To make sure Borshch has a beautiful color, the beets are cooked separately.
Beets are cooked separately, first finely cut and sautéed in fat for several minutes, then added to the soup. Later, the other ingredients are prepared in the same way.
- Bacon adds tasty flavor to this dish!
Bacon fat is grinded in a small mortar with garlic until you get a homogeneous mass. It is then added to borshch a few minutes before it finishes cooking. Then the finished dish is covered with a lid and left to infuse for half an hour.