We were lucky enough to enjoy some of personal chef James A. Groot’s* superb fare last month at the Sustainable Food Expo. My oldest, after going back for fourths (sorry James!) of some amazing beets and beet greens, looked at me with a glazed over, zen-like expression and said “eating like this makes me feel peaceful…”. I couldn’t agree more!
Here we have a sampling of our latest harvest of the same:
Beets thrive best in the cooler conditions of spring and fall and are at their optimum when harvested once they reach about an inch and a half in diameter; anything exceeding 3 inches will likely be tough and fibrous. I still have some in the ground and hope to plant even more in a few weeks. In fact, it’s recommended to plant the ones you hope to use over the winter about ten weeks before the first predicted frost-so you can see I’m being optimistic! And although they can easily be stored in the cellar (greens removed with no more than an inch of stem remaining) or even in the short-term, in the fridge in a plastic bag, here on the west coast we have the luxury of simply leaving them in the garden. Cutting the tops off (and enjoying them, of course) is said to help retain the moisture in the root, but if you choose to leave the tops on, they’ll go dormant until about mid-February and then start to grow again-in which case they can be eaten up until April.
And then we start all over again!
*An experienced and gifted personal chef, James can be reached at email@example.com.