Farm Fresh Feature: Beets
Updated: May 2, 2022
"...when you are faced with trying to figure out what to do with an unfamiliar ingredient, a little nudge in the right direction is always helpful."
As a part of a collaboration with Hidden Valley Garden, I've been developing recipes to highlight some of Alberta's homegrown veggies. Hidden Valley Garden (located just outside of Sylvan Lake, Alberta) and many other local farms offer CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscription boxes. Depending on the producer, the subscriptions vary in amount and frequency. These boxes are a fantastic way to support local, save on a bounty of farm fresh produce, and be exposed to trying some new vegetables. When you are faced with trying to figure out what to do with an unfamiliar ingredient, a little nudge in the right direction is always helpful. The recipes I have been developing have all been aimed at showcasing the versatility of the produce. For the first feature, I'd like to share what I have been cooking up with beets. But first, a little bit about beets... Beets come in so many different shapes, sizes, and colours. Perhaps the most recognizable, the red beet is deeply magenta-hued (so much so that you may want to use gloves when prepping them). Golden beets are a warm orangey-yellow. Candy cane (or Chiogga) beets are absolutely stunning! They feature a bright white flesh with almost neon pink circular rings. You can even find white beets. As the name would suggest, the "sugar beet" is high in sucrose and these are used to produce common table sugar. Beets leaves can also be eaten. You can use them where ever you would swiss chard (as they are closely related) and the fresh tender beet leaves are a beautiful addition to salads. Beets can be roasted, steamed, boiled, sautéed, even pickled. The list of uses for this sweet root vegetable are endless and they store well over the winter. Beets can also be eaten raw, but some people find they can irritate their mouth/throat (because of the oxalic acid they contain). If I am using beets raw, I do so in moderation (such as grating or very thinly slicing them and including some in a coleslaw or sprinkled over a salad). One of the things I love most about beets is how they can naturally add colour to dishes! Their natural bright pink/red colour is un"beet"able (I had to include at least one beet pun). I hope the following recipes inspire you and begin to show you the versatility of beets