Posts Tagged ‘beets’

Balsamic Sautéed Beets, Greens and Onions

Thursday, October 27th, 2016
Beet Greens and Onions

Beet Greens and Onions

We have a nice patch of fall beets. The thinnings are great for sautéing  and if there’s a baby beet attached, so much the better.

Way back when, my mother used to serve cooked spinach with a splash of cider vinegar. I just changed it up to balsamic vinegar which has a natural sweetness to better complement the beet greens.

Here’s the recipe:

1-2 T. olive oil or butter

1 cup sliced onions

1/2 pound of beet greens and baby beets

1-2 T. balsamic vinegar or to taste

Sautéing Onions

Sautéing Onions

Preheat cast iron frying pan on medium.  Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes, then add any peeled and sliced baby beets you may have. Cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the washed beet greens to the pan and any water that’s still clinging to them, along with the balsamic vinegar.  Cover the pan and simmer for about 5 minutes until the beets are cooked through and the greens are wilted.  Serve as a tasty side dish.

Sauté with Beets Added

Sauté with Beets Added

Greens Added to the Mix

Greens Added to the Mix

Balsamic Sautéed Beet Side Dish

Balsamic Sautéed Beet Side Dish

The Beet Patch

The Beet Patch

Beet Green and Fruit Smoothie

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
Baby Beets

Baby Beets

I planted beets the last week of August for a late fall harvest.  I had used old seed so I planted them thickly, but they still germinated heavily.  So we’re now thinning them and using the baby beets in salads, as a vegetable side, and in drinks.  The greens are looking great.  Here’s a plate of them.  We use roots and all, just wash the whole plant.

Raspberries, Beets, Banana

Raspberries, Beets, Banana

Judy took half the beet greens, and added half a frozen banana and some raspberries we picked last night.  We didn’t grow the banana.

Beet Green and Fruit Smoothie

Beet Green and Fruit Smoothie

Blended with a  cup of water, you have a good tasting and good for you greens and fruit smoothie!

Fall Planting with Old Seeds and an Old Book

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
Vilmorin-Andrieux

Vilmorin-Andrieux

Last year I had a harvest of carrots and beets that continued into December.  I used a low hoop tunnel to protect the crop from frosts and freezes and the results were great.  (You can read about it here).   I hope to do the same this year, but I took some big chances because almost all the seed I used was really old.

As most gardeners know, seeds do have a shelf life.  In spite of the stories of seeds germinating after being unearthed in an ancient Egyptian tomb or some Stonehenge like burial site, most seeds lose their viability or germinating power quickly and are usually good for only a few years.  I’m not storing my seed in air tight containers or at controlled temperatures so I’m not helping the longevity.  Nevertheless, I’ve often been surprised at how long seeds do retain some percentage of viability.  Since I had some old seed in large quantities, I thought it wouldn’t be that big a risk to give it a try as long as I just sowed heavily.

There are many sources that will give you approximate germinating life of vegetable seeds, but my favorite reference is The Vegetable Garden by MM. Vilmorin-Andrieux, a reprint of an English edition book published by a Paris seed producer in 1885.  This wonderful book lists, with hand drawn illustrations, hundreds of what would today be called heirloom vegetables, the most of which have been lost to modernity, but amazingly, many are still available.

At the back of the book is a table titled: A TABLE Showing the Comparative Weight and Size of the Seeds of Kitchen-Garden Plants, and also, the Average and Extreme Periods of Duration of their Germinating Power.  Carrots, for example, are shown to weigh 360 Grammes per Litre of Seed and have 950 Seeds per Gramme.  Their Average Duration of Germinating Power is 4 or 5 years, but at the Extreme they can last beyond 10 years.

I planted carrot seed from packs dated 2005, 2009, and 2011.  I think they’ll do okay.  Beets are cited to have an average life of 6 years, but again, they can last beyond 10 years.  My seeds were from 2005 and 2007, I planted them thickly, and again, I think I’ll be happy.  I planted turnip seed from 2005.  I’m pretty sure it has a good chance.

The only seed that I think could totally fail is the onion I planted as scallions or bunching onions.  Onion seeds are given an average life of 2 years with 7 years being listed as their extreme germination.  I took two packets of onions, one dated 2005 and one dated 2008 and mixed them up with a couple new very small packets dated 2012 and 2013.  Since I’m not growing for bulbs but only to get some green onions, I’m hoping enough will sprout to give us at least a few.

Planted, Watered, Waiting to Sprout

Planted, Watered, Waiting to Sprout

It’s all in the ground and watered.  We’ll soon know if we’ll have enough seeds sprouting to make the experiment worth while.  Over the next couple days I’ll plant another bed of greens, lettuces, radish, spinach and collards.  That will all be with relatively current model years of seed so my risk there will be very low.

Fearing Burr

Fearing Burr

As an aside to the mention of the Vilmorin-Andrieux book, which is relatively well known, the whole layout and style of their book was lifted or “borrowed” from a more obscure American book first published in 1863 titled The Field and Garden Vegetables of America:  Containing Full Descriptions of Nearly Eleven Hundred Species and Varieties; with Directions for Propagation, Culture, and Use, by Fearing Burr.

Imagine a listing of eleven hundred different varieties of vegetables available to gardeners in 1863 and it’s easier to realize the true loss of diversity in seeds that has been occurring.  The catalog today is unfortunately much smaller.  It’s a good reason to both save seeds and to support the smaller seed producers who are trying to maintain the old varieties.

Double Covered Hoop Tunnel

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Carrots in Hoop Tunnel

I planted a bed of carrots and beets on August 12th.  Here are the carrots, eleven weeks later.  They’re doing great and we’re harvesting some fairly large ones, already.  The beets are doing just fine, too.   I’m hoping to keep the harvest going well past when the hard freezes set in by using a low hoop tunnel with two protective layers.

Hoop Tunnel

The outside frame of the tunnel is covered with clear poly sheeting.  Directly over the carrots and beets is a layer of agricultural fabric.   I saw a talk given by Elliot Coleman where he described how he uses similar systems to get carrots to grow through the winter in Maine.  All I want to do is get them to last into December.  We’ll see how it goes, but I think I’ll be happy with the results.  These hoop tunnels are easy to construct, and easy to set up, take down, and move around.  The basic instructions for setting up a hoop tunnel  are here.