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Heirloom Beets - You Can't "Beet" Variety

Updated on September 16, 2014
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Jeff Johnston is a medieval reenactor and avid history fan. He is also the publisher at Living History Publications.

Heirloom Beets Can Add Colour To A Dull Dish

Beets are a wonderfully colourful root vegetable. I personally am not overly fond of them unless roasted or pickled. But there is more than just the deep purple red variety you see every day, Beets come in a variety of shapes and colours. Both the greens and the root bulb of this veg are edible, so it makes a very efficient plant to grow in your garden.

When planning your veggie garden you can't beat beets.

Image is of Chioggia Beets, available from Amazon.com below

Beet History

Beet cultivation stretches back to the second century BCE and have been a popular source of sweetness ever since. In Rome it was considered a aphrodisiac.

In the 19th century it was discovered that you could make sugar out of sugar beets and it became a viable option for Europeans who had difficulty obtaining sugar cane.

Cast your vote for Fireside Roasted Beet

Fireside Beet Recipe

This recipe is great for camping. It takes beets to a whole new level. I was never a fan of cooked beets before I tried this. The only way I enjoyed beets was pickled. This recipe made a believer out of me!

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code
  • Cook time: 30 min
  • Ready in: 30 min

Ingredients

  • Beets
  • Tin foil
  • Camp fire

Instructions

  1. build a campfire and allow it to build up a good bed of coals
  2. wrap beets individually in tinfoil (do not peel the beets, leave the skin on)
  3. put the beets in the fire on the coals
  4. cook until tender (use a pair of tongs to see if there is give to determine if tender)
  5. remove from fire serve with some butter.

Heirloom Beet Seeds

Amazon has some great deals on beet seeds. Here are some unique examples of the beet.

Chioggia Beats

These distinctive beets have alternating white and red stripes through the flesh of the beet. They look wonderful pickled, or just cooked on a plate for something unique.

Golden Detroit Beets

These bright orange beets have a nice sweet flavour and are the perfect storage vegetable. The brilliant gold colour will make any beet dish spectacular.

Sugar Beets

Sugar beets are a particularly sweet variety of beets and is commonly grown for sugar production.

Sugar can be made from these beets by pressing the beetroot then drying the liquid. Its a common way to get sugar when sugarcane is not available.

Giant Yellow Mangel Beets

When picked young these striking yellow beets are sweet and nice, can be grown to large sizes to be used for livestock feed as well.

What about the greens?

So far I have mainly been talking about the beetroot and its uses, but the greens are also edible and quite delicious. You can saute them, fry them, boil them, or eat them raw. They work great in salads as an additional green leafy vegetable to add variety, or sauteed with a little garlic they make an excellent side.

Sauteed Beet Greens

This is an excellent way to serve beet greens. The garlic and olive oil give the beet greens that added flavour to turn an otherwise boring side dish into something your family and friends will love when you serve it to them. Best of all this recipe is extremely fast and easy to make.

  • Cook time: 10 min
  • Ready in: 10 min
  • Yields: 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound beet greens
  • 1 -2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. bring a large pot of water to boil
  2. remove the stems and wash the leaves in cold water
  3. once boiling add a pinch of salt and the greens into the boiling water
  4. blanch for 2 minutes or until just tender
  5. drain and immediately place leaves in icewater to cool the leaves
  6. drain and squeese the ice water from the leaves
  7. chop greens coarsely
  8. heat oil in a skillet
  9. add garlic and stir cook garlic until slightly translucent aprox. 1 minute
  10. add the greens and toss until well coated with garlic and oil
  11. remove from heat
  12. season with salt and pepper and serve

© 2012 Jeff Johnston

Don't Beat Around The Bush

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    • Jemjoseph profile image

      Jemjoseph 4 years ago

      The Heirloom Tomatoes are a treat to look to the eyes, would be a great accessory to a meal especially at Christmastime.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow! Those Golden Detroit Beets ...

    • MJsConsignments profile image

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      I don't like them at all. Truthfully, for a quest, I had to find a lens about something I think is "yucky". Sorry, beets are it! Good luck with your lens though!

    • profile image

      Auntie-M LM 5 years ago

      I like beets, don't love them. But I am used to the canned ones. Yours are so gorgeous that they just have to taste wonderful.