The Potager

The Potager

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Menu - Featuring Roasted Beets

One of my favorite vegetables to grow in the Potager is beets.  I plant them in rows. As they come up I thin the row and toss the leaves into a salad. As I wait for the beets to get to the size I want to eat, I continue to pick off leaves to add to my salad for color and flavor. Finally I look under the leaves and see what I've been waiting for - beets!
About 2 inches across - perfect for harvest!
Beets are a cardio-vasular friendly vegetable. I have read that they have unique pigment antioxidants in the root as well as in their leaves that have been found to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke, lower cholesterol levels, and have anti-aging effects. They are low in calories, high in folates and rich in B-complex vitamins, such as niacin,  and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. The tops are high in vitamin C and A and flavonoid anti-oxidants, which protect against lung and oral cancers. They can also help you tell if you are low in iron. Beeturia, when beets make your pee reddish, occurs in about 5 - 10% of the population and can indicate iron deficiency. Beets are high in sugar, making them not a great choice for diabetics, but for the rest of us, it makes them wonderfully sweet and delicious! Go beets!
Freshly picked beets!
 After you pick your beets, you should remove the leaves from the root as soon as possible because the leaves will rob the root of moisture and nutrition if left on. The greens should be eaten soon after harvest, but the beets can be stored in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for a few weeks without losing nutritional value.
I like to pick my beets when they are no more than 2 inches across. Larger beets are tough and take too long to cook.
Sweet Potato Bed, beets are on the outsides

This year I planted a row of Early Wonder and a row of Detroit Red beets on the outside of my sweet potato bed. They did really well here. The Detroit red beets performed much better than the Early Wonder.  But both are producing beets.
You can eat beets raw, steamed or roasted.  If you scrub the skin, you can eat the skin on cooked beets, but I usually remove it after cooking.
My favorite way to eat beets is roasted. I rinse the dirt off the beets, remove the stems and the long root and place the beets on heavy-duty aluminum foil. I drizzle them with olive oil. (The olive oil is totally optional, but I love the flavor it gives. Plus if you want to use your beets in a salad, you can use the beet infused olive oil in your dressing!) I seal up the foil packet, and roast the beets in a 400 degree oven. Test after 25 minutes (longer if you have large beets) by sticking a fork in the beets. The fork should slide right in. Take them out of the oven and let them cool a minute, packet opened. Take a paper towel and rub the beet skins - they will slide right off. You can also remove the skin wearing food grade plastic gloves. If you do it bare handed, be warned - you will have beet red fingers for a while.
The roasted beets can be eaten as is or in a salad. I enjoy them both ways. In either case, the taste of beets improves when paired with a soft white cheese, such as goat cheese and a toasted nut, such as walnuts. That was how I served my beets on my Monday menu. 

Grilled Steak
 Steamed Fresh Emerite Pole Beans
 Baby Bella Mushrooms Sauteed with Shallots and Parsley
 Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

No comments:

Post a Comment