Friday, June 4, 2010

Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica

What is a beet? Is it just a nickname for that other red veggie known as the radish? But that leads us to another question… what is a radish? Are either of them actually veggies? Does Dwight actually own a beet farm? Enter all-knowing Wikipedia:

"Beet : The beet (Beta vulgaris) is a plant in the amaranth family (which includes beet, goosefoot, quinoa, and spinach.) It is best known in its numerous cultivated varieties, the most well known of which is probably the red root vegetable known as the beetroot or garden beet. The usually deep-red roots of garden beet are eaten boiled either as a cooked vegetable, or cold as a salad after cooking and adding oil and vinegar. A large proportion of the commercial production is processed into boiled and sterilised beets or into pickles. In Eastern Europe beet soup, such as cold borscht, is a popular dish."

"Radish : The radish (Raphanus sativus) is an edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family (includes Some examples of cruciferous food plants are the cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip, rapeseed, mustard, radish, horseradish, cress, wasabi and watercress) that was domesticated in Europe in pre-Roman times."

Dwight Schrute : Dwight lives on his family's 60-acre beet farm, in a nine bedroom farmhouse (with one bathroom), with his cousin Mose where they grow table beets. Dwight also likes paintball, survivalism, Karate and weapons. Fact: bears eat beets (see shirt from café press.)

Note to self: All red veggies are not related. Either way, both beets and radishes are two things that I have never eaten before. The other distinguishing difference? My first farmshare basket from Enterprise Farms included 6 beets (and no radishes.) How do I know this? It was in their newsletter -- thank goodness, or perhaps I would have misidentified these suckers!

So how does one cook beets? I scoured the internet for something to make that has beets in it and is not borscht, which I will save for a later date. (Given my Eastern European background it really is quite surprising that I’ve never had borscht before, but it’s good to see that it makes numerous appearances in all four of my Polish cookbooks and my one Ukrainian cookbook. You know, in case I want to try out some different ways of making it.)

Have you ever felt like something was made JUST FOR YOU and nobody else? Well, I had that feeling earlier today while searching for a beet recipe. Really. I found a recipe for beets (which came in my farmshare), potatoes (which came in my farmshare), an onion (which came in my farmshare), and mint (my dad sent me a baggie of garden-grown mint about a week ago!) Talk about fate.

Of course, having never tasted a beet, I had no idea what to expect. What I learned: Beets turn everything red, including your fingers. Really, everything... including your cat's water dish when you accidentally drop in a beet chunk. (Sorry kitty.) Also, when peeled and chopped beets bear a striking resemblance to raw meat.

In general, this recipe was just a little too bland for my taste and I ended up spicing it up with some basil, salt, and pepper which helped it out a bit. It probably could have used some meat or something, but for my first beet experience I would say it went well. 

Lesson: Beets just taste like an earthy, less soft potato.... I'm no longer frightened of them.


Beet, Potatoes and Mint (recipe compliments of recipes):

6 beets, peeled raw, diced small
4 potatoes, peeled, diced large
1 onion, peeled, chopped fine
2 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped
Seasonings to taste 

Put all ingredients, except the mint, in a stew pan.
Bring to the boil, then cover and lower heat to low.
Let simmer about 35 minutes.
Before serving, sprinkle with the chopped mint leaves. 

Overall score: 6 out of 10.
PS: What else came in my farmshare this week? Blueberries, acorn squash, zucchini, lettuce, salad greens, and romano beans. YUM!


  1. I have found that roasted beets were my best bet for eating beets....but they are a lot of work when your feeding a big group!

  2. Thankfully I don't have a big group to feed, it's either me or me plus one! I will give roasting them a shot, thanks!

  3. girl, you need to try yourself some orange glazed beat. de.lish.

  4. Oh, that sounds good! Maybe next time if I get beets again!


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