I Can Bake, Roast, Grate, Pickle, Ferment – What Am I?

I Can Bake, Roast, Grate, Pickle, Ferment – What Am I?

The answer to the question is one of our favorite root vegetables – BEETS!

If you aren’t a fan of beets, I’m here to tell you a recipe exists for this humble root that will change your mind.   Sure, you may not enjoy a homemade pickled beet like our family but there are more subtle ways to enjoy this vegetable.

Beets are as versatile as a potato or zucchini.   They can be eaten raw or roasted to sweet perfection.   They can be added to quick breads, muffins or even brownies.   Beets thrive in cool weather and roots are especially sweet in the fall after the first few frosty nights.   The roots store extremely well over the winter so there is no need to work hard preserving beets.  Harvested late fall, we can store traditional beets for up to 5 months in normal refrigerator conditions.   In fact, we prefer to store the roots fresh and use them as needed over the winter months.

It’s one of the greatest pleasures of growing food… eating your own homegrown, home stored food….even in the dead of winter.   A few beets sliced up, roasted until sweet and caramelized – delicious!   We figure winter roasted roots like beets warm us three times during the cold months – first when we worked hard to harvest them, second when we heated the oven to cook them and the third when they warmed our bellies during our meal.  Just another benefit of growing and eating your own food.

We’ve grown and enjoyed fresh beets for many years.  Here are a few of our favorite recipes – ones we’ve prepared repeatedly and have stood the test of time.  Hopefully we can turn some beet doubters into beet lovers.  Enjoy.

Grated Beet Salad with Balsamic and Oranges

Very simple, beautiful salad that stores for several days.  The color is amazing.  It’s almost like a relish that gets better the longer its allowed to sit.

Fresh Beets, 1 large or 2 or 3 medium, washed and trimmed

Fresh orange slices, chopped coarsely, reserving all juice or orange juice

Balsamic Vinegar

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Grate the beets using the coarse side of a box grater or use a food processor.   Place shredded beets in a bowl and toss with balsamic vinegar, fresh orange slices or orange juice, a drizzle of your best olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.  Toss and enjoy.

 

The Sweetest Roasted Beets

Fresh beets, wash and trimmed

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt

Slice beets into 1/4″ slices.  Place in bowl and toss with olive oil and sprinkle of salt.  Place in shallow roasting pan and bake at 325 until a paring knife easily pierces the slices.   Remove from oven and serve with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

 

Sautéed Beet Greens with Gruyere

A Lucy original, here is a delicious recipe for using beets greens.

1 package BBF bacon

Beets Greens – chopped coarsely, include stems and leaves

Gruyere Cheese, coarsely grated

Cook a few slices of bacon until desired doneness. Remove and reserve fat in pan. Add chopped beet greens and sauté lightly. Don’t cook the life out of them! Just a quick, hot sauté. Remove from pan and place in serving bowl. Allow to sit for a few minutes to cool. Add grated Gruyere cheese while still warm. Sprinkle with chopped bacon. Splash of balsamic vinegar is a nice finish.

 

Beet and Carrot Quick Bread

Adapted from the Cornersmith cookbook, Lucy created this beautiful quick bread based on the Purple Carrot Loaf recipe.   The bread is not too sweet, not too dense, not oily.  It’s perfect.  Thank you to authors Alex Elliott-Howery and James Grant for sharing their beautiful food ideas.  Straight from down under!

Lucy used orange carrots and added grated beets to the original recipe.    This is a great way to use those beets in your CSA share!  Everyone will love this bread!

Makes 1 large loaf and one mini loaf.  Or, use muffin tins and fill 2/3 full.

10 1/2 oz or 2 cups all purpose flour

1 heaped tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

4 fresh eggs

4 oz sugar – we use Sucanat

10 1/2 ounces coconut oil, melted

3 medium carrots, grated

2 medium beets, grated

5 1/2 oz Fillmore Farms organic walnuts, plus extra for topping batter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil pans and line bottoms with parchment.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in large bowl.

Using mixer, beat eggs and sugar until pale, thick and frothy.  Slowly add the coconut oil and continue beating for a few more minutes until smooth and well combined.

Using a spatula or large spoon, mix in the grated roots, then fold in the flour mixture and walnuts.  Pour batter into prepared pans or muffin tins, scatter walnuts over the top and bake 50 minutes or until skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Mini loaf will bake in 25-30 minutes.  Allow bread to cool and then turn out bread.