Beets and Beet Greens

Beets (Beta vulgaris) are a widely cultivated plant related to amaranth, chard and commercially grown sugar beet. You will find these sweet and tasty roots and greens in your share throughout the growing season. At the farm, we grow red beets, yellow beets, and pink-white ringed Chioggia beets. Beetroots are high in vitamins A and C, carotenes, folate, manganese and potassium. Beet greens also provide extra vitamin C, calcium and iron.

Beetroots will store for a very long time, for 3 months or more in optimal conditions! Cut off the greens and keep roots in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. To store beet greens, cut away from roots, rinse and keep in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Roots: Peeling is a myth! No need to do so, just scrub them clean under running water. Try them raw, grated into salads or as a dipping veggie. Cook beets by boiling whole (until a fork pierces through easily, 40 minutes or so) or steaming, slip off skins, slice them and toss at room temperature with a simple vinaigrette. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1-2 hours until fork can pierce easily. On an outdoor grill, place beets on heavy foil, drizzled with oilve oil, salt and pepper, wrap tightly and cook about 30 minutes.

Greens: Wash well. Substitute them in any dish calling for spinach or a cooked green. Try steaming or sauteeing greens with garlic and olive oil. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top.

Beet and Fennel Salad with Clementine Vinaigrette
Serves 4

4 large or 6 small beets
1 bulb fennel
Black pepper to taste

1/2 cup olive oil
Grated zest of 1 clementine
Juice of 3 clementine
4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1. Scrub beets and boil covered in a pot until they can be stabbed easily with a fork. Drain and cool under cold running water. You can rub off the peels and stems easily now. Slice beets thin and refrigerate.
2. Trim outer parts and base of fennel. Slice fennel as thin as possible. Soak in ice water while you prepare dressing.
3. Whisk all dressing ingredients together.
4. Arrange 4 plates by covering bottom of plate with beet slices, put 1/4 the fennel on top, sprinkle with rosemary, pour dressing and sprinkle pepper on top.
Recipe based on: The Cafe Pongo Cookbook by Valerie Nehez

Beet Chocolate Cake
Serves 10:
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3-4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs
1/4 oil
3 cups shredded raw beets

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9" cake pans. Whisk dry ingredients together. Melt chocolate very slowly over low heat or in double boiler. Cool chocolate; blend thoroughly with eggs and oil. Combine flour mixture with chocolate mixture, alternating with the beets. Pour into pans. Bake until a fork is clean when removed from the center, 40-50 minutes.
Recipe from: From Asparagus to Zucchini.

Warm Beet Salad: Balsamic Beets and Beet Greens
from "greens glorious greens" by johnna albi and catherine walthers.

1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 bunches beets with beet greens (about 6 medium beets)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
sea salt to taste
1 vidalia or red onion, sliced into thin half-moons

Toast the walnuts in an iron skillet on the stove or a baking dish in a 375˚F oven.
Cut the beets from the greens. Chop the stems at the base of the leaves and discard stems. Wash the greens and cut into 1/2 inch strips.
Scrub beets and place unpeeled in a steamer and cook until tender (about 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the beets). Slip off the skins of the cooked beets under cold water.
Cut beets into quarters and cut each quater into 1/4 inch slices.
Place in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, balsamic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and salt.
Set asideIn a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
Add onions and saute for 3-5 minutes.
Add the greens cook, covered, for 5-6 minutes until wilted.
Add the beets to heat through (1-2 minutes).
Move to a bowl, garnish with toasted walnuts and serve.

Serves 4

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