Happy June!  I don’t have a ton to share with you because it has been freeeeezing here and our veggies have yet to start growing.  The overnight low was 23!  Not very garden-friendly, that’s for sure.  We’re thankful for low tunnels.

So, instead, I’m going to tell you that we REALLY like bribing people into coming to all of the classes.  With what, you ask?  Delicious garden recipes, of course!  We have partnered with WVU Extension and their health educator, who also happens to have a plot in our community garden, does tastings of in-season veggies.  It’s a win win!

In the last class we made Moroccan Beets:

First, roast your beets! To roast beets set your oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Thoroughly wash each beet, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in foil. Transfer the beets to a large baking sheet and allow them to roast until tender, approximately 45-60 minutes. Remove beets from the oven, carefully remove foil, and allow your beets to cool before peeling away the skin. Then, cut the beets into bite size pieces and put the pieces into a serving bowl.  In a small bowl, mix lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper to taste, then whisk in a little olive oil.  Add the mixture to the beets, toss and serve.

The Forked Spoon has some great info on beets:

Beets are low in calories, but have tons of nutrients. Beets do a really great job at feeding your body the vitamins and minerals it needs without packing in the calories. For example, in a 3.5-ounce serving, beets contain just 44 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 20 % RDI of folate, and 16 % RDI of manganese.

Beets help regulate blood pressure. Beets contain a high concentration of nitrates, which when ingested, are converted to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps dilate blood vessels, causing blood pressure to drop.

Beets are a good source of fiber. As we know, fiber is important in maintaining a healthy gut and preventing things like constipation.

Beets are low in calories and high in water. Given the high content of water and fiber in beets, they are an excellent addition to any diet – especially for those who are trying to lose weight (although I will never claim that any food is responsible for weight loss).

Here’s some stuff to think about when buying beets (for those hard up times when beets either aren’t in season or if you forgot to plant some 😉 ):

Beets come in all sorts of colors, shapes, and sizes. Some markets sell beets in “bulk bins” which consist of just the beetroot without the beet greens, while others may only sell beets in a bunch.

No matter where you find and purchase your beets, use this as a guide to picking the best beets every time!

  • Pick beets that are free of bruising or any major blemishes. Now, remember that we’re talking about beets here, so you’ll probably be hard-pressed to find a perfect apple-shaped beetroot.
  • Larger beets will be harder to cut and will take longer to cook. As such, it’s best to look for medium-sized beets.
  • If you can, buy beets with the greens still attached. It’s a good indication of freshness.
  • Avoid beets with wrinkly skin as it is a sign of dehydration.

And lastly, here’s what you need to do before cooking your beets:

If you purchased beets with the greens still attached, remove the leafy greens and reserve for later use. Do not slice through the beetroot; instead chop off the beet greens, leaving approximately 1-inch of the green intact.

Scrub your beets. Use a vegetable scrubber if you have one.

Here are a few photos of the finished product, and one of Steve harvesting produce for a new local restaurant!

Hopefully we’ll have more to write about in July!

Until then, happy growing!