Are They Gone Yet?
Farmers and gardeners in the northeast plant beets from mid- May through late July to facilitate a fall crop. The leaves work like chard in any recipe but get lopped off their ruby (typically the Bull’s Blood variety), striped (Chioggia), or yellow (Goldens) roots later in the harvest so the latter can be stored for months, giving locavores a colorful cold weather vegetable option — an option chock full of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphate, sodium and iron.
And we do eat plenty of them. Steamed, roasted, and shredded raw. But most often in well-dressed salads because the two prominent flavors in any beet — sweetness and earthiness — together form a taste profile that vegetarian cookery guru Deborah Maddison dubs in her book Vegetable Literacy “sluggishly aggressive.” I think we all might know someone who loves to hate beets. An acid-based salad dressing with either citrus or vinegar lightens up the sweet, earthy combination and makes them palatable to a wider audience.
With spring greens popping up in season-extending high tunnels all over New Hampshire, most of us are passing on the wintery salads in favor of tender, young lettuce-filled ones. But that mindset leaves beets in the cellar to rot into food waste. A green eating solution to beets in April is to keep eating them. The trick is finding new ways to enjoy them.