Friday, January 13, 2012

Bushel Basket of Beets

Okay, I admit this is not quite a bushel, but it’s an impressively large bucket of beet greens that I picked from the garden.
Beets belong to the love-it-or-hate-it food group, along with broccoli and liver. Since they don’t have any strong odor or flavor, I assume that the beet haters must have been traumatized by canned beets or something equally gross.

Sugar beets, fodder beets, and chard are all varieties of the same species as the garden beet. Beet roots and stems have a brilliant red dye which stains everything it touches (clothes, hands) and turns other foods purple. Like most brightly-colored plant foods, they are full of anti-oxidants.

When I planted these reds back in October, I planted a couple rows of golden beets as well. A few of the goldens germinated but died almost immediately, while the reds thrived and shot up to more than a foot tall.

The long stems and huge leaves are misleading because when I pulled up these gigantic plants (largest was 18 inches tall), the roots were still only 1 to 2 inches in diameter.

Fortunately the leaves are completely edible and delicious and can be prepared the same as spinach or chard. I will give them a quick toss in a hot pan with olive oil, garlic and hot pepper flakes.

As for the actual beets, I may just steam these small ones and serve them with a little butter. If I can get bigger ones in a few weeks, I want to try baking them with fennel, shallots, and a bit of orange juice.

Remember to eat your vegetables and stay healthy this winter!



  1. Our garden is completely non productive in January - we don't have a greenhouse or tunnel.
    This morning everything is white with a deep frost.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. I'm hoping that all you summer gardners will take heart from my winter veggies and return the favor next summer when my garden is dry and shriveled!