Friday, July 23, 2010

Savoring the harvest: Drink-your-beets borscht

by June

Beets are beautiful and sweet and fun to grow. We love our beets.

When I pull a bunch from the garden, I admire them for a while, sometimes a long while. Their leaves are beautiful, veined through with fuchsia. And the globes themselves are very satisfying for a gardener to hold in the palm of her hand, that hefty roundness. Admiring a beet, I feel like a hen considering her egg.

My favorite way to prepare beets is roasted at high heat (about 400 degrees F). I rub them with olive oil and nestle them together in foil. It usually takes about a half hour for fresh beets to reach the point where they can be pierced by a knife (about the consistency of cold butter). If I don't have to peel them then, I don't.  I pop them into the fridge to save for quick preparation of a summer meal. They peel very easily when they are chilled, and it's simpler to slice them, chunk them or grate them when it's not like playing hot potato. We eat them every which way.

Recently, I had about a cup of leftover grated beets. They were dressed in a bit of olive oil and a dribble of balsamic vinegar. I tossed them into the blender with some fresh dill, a diced shallot, and a cup of vegetable stock. I whirred it all together, then added a dollop of sour cream and another of yogurt. I put it into the fridge to really chill.

Later, the four of us sat on the porch and sipped a sweet, pink soup that tasted so deeply of our garden that it reminded me of all the pleasures of growing beets: the grainy little seed getting poked in the soil, the first ruby knuckle sprouting up, the beautiful leaves turning glossy and tall, and then the bulb swelling into sight. That simple soup was what makes feeding ourselves from the garden irresistible.


meemsnyc said...

We are growing beets too, but they aren't ready to be pulled yet. I can't wait, I love beets. Thanks for the roasted beet tip! Awesome.

Conny said...

I didn't grow any beets this year but I sure do love it when my mom prepares them. Will the delicious pink drink turn our teeth pink too? I must try it.

Great photo!

The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Don't hate me - I love my veggies, but I don't like beets. I have tried them all different ways and I just can't eat them!! I think they look beautiful, I love the color and I wish such much that I did like them, but I just don't. Wish I did cause they look so pretty.

I do appreciate your beet post though, lol.

Anonymous said...

ditto on the beets from lisa....i alwasys thought they tasted like......mudd!

June said...

Meems: Happy harvesting and roasting! I'll look forward to seeing your beets.

Conny: The girls had pink mustaches. Quite fun! And maybe the teeth were a little pink too. Maybe.

Lisa: We'll forgive you the beet dislike. Wish we could make some for you. Homegrown beets are just so much sweeter and...toothsome!

Anonymous: Mud? That would be gross. I guess I like a little earthiness in my veg. Reminds me of the whole cycle.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

What a wonderful idea for your extra beets. We have a lot growing at the moment. Like you, I love to roast some, and keep them handy in the fridge. This summer, as we have quite a few sweet yellow beets, we've been thinly shaving some, raw, over salad for a splash of color, and a little sweet earthy flavor. The garden wouldn't be the same without beets...

tom | tall clover farm said...

June I just had a fantastic beet salad last night on what was easily the summer's most perfect day. It included baby spinach, toasted walnuts, sweet onions, goat cheese (get to work Clover and Buttercup) and roasted beets--all dressed in the juice of one orange (and some zest), olive oil, salt, pepper and done. Here's to summer days you just can 'beet'!

June said...

Clare: I am shaving my beets into salad immediately. What a grand idea! Thank you!

Tom: That salad does sound un"beet"able. I love goat cheese with beets...and walnuts...and oranges. How splendid to combine them into the perfect-summer-day salad! As soon as I get around to it, I'll show you what we've been doing with beets and goat cheese (and, yes, hurry up Clover and Buttercup!).

6512 and growing said...

I am a big fan of beets, roots and greens. I am so pleased that my kids are eating beets too this year. When my kids chomp on something out of the garden, I feel like the whole dang thing is worth it.

Your goats are adorable.

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