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January 10, 2014 by Hope Gardens

I love you guys. I mean it. Cause I don’t even like beets. But YOU do. And beets are easy to grow, have both edible leaves and roots and are highly nutritious and beneficial…so let’s learn us about some beet growing…and eating. Even if I won’t eat them. I still love them.

Beets grow quickly from seed (the seeds are large and easy for even kids to handle) and you can harvest the leaves 2-3 times before letting the plants grow beets. They are gorgeous in your garden to boot.

Beets are beneficial to the garden; they add minerals to the soil, including boron. Boron helps improve soil fertility but is not available to add to your soil mechanically. You have to grow beets in your soil or add organic matter. Do both! Plant beets in the garden with onion, garlic, kohlrabi, lettuce and mint to increase beets’ success. Even mint clippings are beneficial since planting the ever-invasive mint in the garden can be a no-no.

Beets are chock-full of vitamins and minerals for your body as well…and from ancient times, beets have been a known aphrodisiac. (Why don’t I like these again?) Beets are especially good for pregnant women: they have B, folic acid and iron. As if that’s not enough, they also contain magnesium, betaine and trytophan, known to combat depression and help with relaxation. I mean, wow.

Beets are super versatile to cook and are part of lots of traditional and ethnic cooking. From Eastern European borscht to German pickled red beet eggs to Irish Red Flannel Hash, beets add a kick of beautiful color and flavor to lots of meals. I have found some delicious and exciting beet recipes for you, so let’s get started….and stay tuned for a beet recipe with another veggie that I didn’t even know I had growing in my garden!

This first recipe uses a tried-and-true technique for cooking anything: listening to Martha Stewart. Wait, not just that…this is that oh-so-simple-make-the-house-smell-delicious-pretend-you-slaved-all-day-while-you-binge-watched-Homeland technique called ROASTING. And I love the idea of walnuts giving it some crunch. Use golden beets and new potatoes for a truly nutritious and delicious roasty-toasty Beet, Potato and Walnut Salad.

While you have the oven on…
If I could be reincarnated into a certain kind of food preparation (is that weird?) it may just be the GRATIN. An elevated casserole with a creamy yet crunchy cheese topping. So me.

This is a technique that can be applied to all kinds of vegetables you want to present as warm and filling and with that satisfying caving in as the spoon breaks the surface. I will say, I once tried to make a celery gratin and, ice, that just really didn’t cut it. The author of this recipe has more gratin success with beets, and she also has some interesting notes on beets in general, which she is enjoying at her Farmer’s Market well into the summer. Check out her recipe for Beet and Beet Green Gratin.

Beets as you may know are naturally sweet and so pair awesome with apples. From there, sharp cheddar is a natural companion. Grab your puff pastry for this gorgeous Beet, Cheddar and Apple Tart recipe.

This next beet recipe is going to introduce (what may be) a new veggie for you. It was new to me: the PEA SHOOT.

I had no idea what a pea shoot was until I realized, oh, it’s a pea shoot. The stalks and tendrils of spring peas are edible, you just harvest them early: starting once they are 6-8” tall. This encourages the plant to grow some more so don’t worry! When you cut off the shoot make sure you get a set of leaves and about 2-6” of the plant. You can even grab flowers and buds. Once the shoots aren’t tender, stop harvesting. Plant more peas every 4 weeks to keep a supply of shoots coming.

This succulent salad is easy to put together, can be made from your own homestead and is brimming with goodness for your glowing bod. Toss this Avocado, Beet, Pea Shoot Salad into your repertoire.

Hope you enjoyed this stroll down beet-lovers lane. It’s fun to watch you have fun.
No beets for me however.
I’m driving.

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