post no. 51 – beets!

June is officially here, almost a third over in fact, and this means so many amazing summer vegetables will be ready soon, yes, even in the north. We are excited for heirloom tomatoes as always, zucchini, multiple cucumber varieties… But the present moment is a great focus too (right?), and presently we love beets.

We start our beets in the greenhouse and transplant into the field. Plus, the first succession has been growing in the high tunnel, experiencing an extended season and increased warmth. For these reasons, our large beets are coming relatively early and are a bridge crop between spring and summer.

carrots on Tuesday in the high tunnel, with lettuce and beets on the right and kale on the left

We grow several types of beets, but the current ones are “Sweet Dakota Bliss”, a beautiful and sweet beet. The seed is Certified Organic and is produced in North Dakota by Prairie Road Organic Seeds, a very small seed producer we ordered from for the first time this year.

Nutrition

Aside from being incredibly delicious, beets are one of the healthiest foods you can eat! They minimally impact blood sugar, despite tasting sweet, and they are a good source of fiber, folate, and potassium. Additionally, the antioxidant levels of beets are high: 9 times higher, in fact, than a typical tomato and 50 times higher than orange carrots. The leaves are extremely nutritious as well, and actually contain more antioxidants than the beet root. (source: Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson)

washing beets last summer

Cooking

Fortunately it doesn’t take much to prepare some damn good beets. My favorite preparation method, which is simple and showcases the excellent taste of a good beet, is boiling beets whole with the skin still on. Once a fork is easily inserted in the beets they are done, and they should be transferred to a bowl of ice water. The rapid temperature change will loosen the skin, which can be rubbed off with your thumb! Nick and I recently cooked up some beets this way, and then chopped them coarsely and heated in some oil with chopped scallion. We then added crumbled Gorgonzola and were FINISHED with an exquisite, simple, creamy beet salad.

Another simple strategy, which I love, is to peel and chop beets and saute in oil or butter. I tend to do this for breakfast alongside some fried eggs. I will also brown some chopped garlic in a pan with butter, and toss in the chopped beet greens. There’s breakfast for 2 farmers made with 4 eggs and 2 beets!

Finally a reminder:

Black Lives Matter

A statement so painfully obvious that is also somehow contentious in 2020. Peace.

-ppp

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