This is your chance to tell us your love of, your hatred of, your gaggy, your wonderful, beet stories. Have a picture of a baby smeared with beets? Leave us a link here in the comments. Leave us recipes, or links to them.
I Hate Beets stories are welcome here, too, but mostly, tell us why you love beets! We wanna hear about red flannel hash and beet chocolate cake and pickled beets and borscht and Harvard beets and beet juice and beet salads and beet-greens-with-bacon, and family memories and family recipes.
One of my favorite stories about beets is one I read in a memoir about the Holocaust. I cannot remember whose memoir it was anymore, but I remember the beet story -- how 'bout that? The author told a story that there was only one person she knew who came back from the Holocaust in better shape than he went in -- he was a person who had suffered all his adult life from ulcers and was sickly and underweight when he went to the concentration camp. When he returned, he was the picture of health. He said the only thing they had to eat was raw beets, and they served to heal his ulcers, so he ended up getting healthy and strong and was able to survive the camp and come home, to everyone's surprise.
Here's a link to my aunt's "famous" pickled beets. I make the family pickled beets now, and if I don't bring them to every holiday dinner, I'm in TROUBLE. If you think you don't like beets, pickled beets might be your entrée into the world of loving beets. They are sweet-sour, with a lovely pickling spice mix -- cinnamon, cardamom, [I think] cloves, mustard seed, bay.... I don't know all that's in it, but it's mmmmmmm.
Pickled beets are wonderful on their own, and they are wonderful thrown in salads, eaten with cottage cheese, thrown into a potato salad (it makes pink potato salad -- perfect for a bridal shower IMHO), eaten straight from the jar!!!
I only planted a small plot of beets this year (half of a 3X3-foot grow bed), and so if I don't get on the stick and plant more, I will be IN TROUBLE because I won't have any to pickle. One year I cheated and bought beets at my green grocer, but last year I tried that and they had a terrible beet-growing year and there weren't enough there, either. So two days ago I planted another plot of them for a late-summer harvest, and I'm going to plant even more in the next week or so. We love them!
The beets that were in the picture on Tuesday became this for dinner that night --
It was a locavore meal of a Boyden beef burger, a piece of Mad River Grain bread from the Red Hen Bakery* (though as I mentioned the other day after my visit to the research farm, it is unlikely that the flours in this bread are Vermont-grown), and our own beets and beet greens and onions. I boiled the small beets and slipped the skins off to serve them with the greens which had been braised with our young onions in a small bit of grapeseed oil and sprinkled with just a few drops of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.
Beet greens might be a bit of a hard sell to people who don't like greens, but I love them. When I grew up, my mother would boil them in the baby stage with the baby beets still attached, and with a small piece of salt pork added. I still love them that way. I often love to cook a couple pieces of bacon, then braise the greens in some olive oil with garlic and onions, and then fold in the bacon pieces and then sprinkle with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. These are tricks to deal with greens that can sometimes be a bit bitter. They're the same tricks I use with dandelion greens. Beet greens are not as bitter as dandelion greens, but they are more bitter than spinach. Baby beet greens are not bitter, and are wonderful fresh in salads, and are a fabulous addition to mesclun seed mixes.
*I eat almost no grains, but a loaf of this scrumptious bread is an almost-weekly treat nowadays. It is soooo good, and I keep the size of the slices to a minimum, and we make a loaf last at least three days, hard as it is to hold back from eating the whole thing in one go.