April 6: Beets
Roasted beets are sweet and silky and make good quick pickles or salads. They are also delicious hot, drizzled with oil and a little salt and pepper. Roast a few beets while you’re cooking something else, and you’ll have them ready when you want them. Try beets, goat cheese, and maple walnuts on a green salad, or beets, chunks of orange, and feta cheese, with a dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and juice from the orange. Find recipes from local farms here.
Valley Bounty is written by Margaret Christie of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture.
Beets store very well all winter if kept cold. They’re available a winter farmers’ markets all winter and are a good crop to stock up yourself to bridge the gap between winter and spring markets. They’ll keep well in your refrigerator, in a bucket of sand in a cold basement, or in a cooler in an outbuilding.
To roast beets, wash them and cut off the greens if they’re still attached. Put the beets in a covered pot, like a dutch oven, with a tablespoon or two of water, and put them in the oven. Or wrap them in foil and put on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Roast at 350-400° for about an hour. If you’re cooking something else at a higher or lower temperature, the beets won’t mind. When they are done, a fork will slide in easily. Once they have cooled enough to touch, it’s easy to rub off the skin with your fingers. Then you can slice them into chunks or thin slices for use.
Here are two beet salad recipes from local farmers: roasted beet and feta from Mountain View Farm in Easthampton, and beets, walnuts and goat cheese from the Kitchen Garden in Sunderland. Both farms have additional recipes for beets on their websites—I’ve heard great things about the Kitchen Garden’s beet ravioli!