My Hoskins grandparents had a big garden on their half-acre in Ottumwa, Iowa and Grandma did a lot of canning. Not as much as she did when she had a house full of kids to feed, but still – a lot. I liked to help her when I was a little girl. Sometimes I’d shell peas or snap beans or help fill jars. But help with the beets? Never. Eat her canned beets? No thank you! Those things bled when you cut them and they were simply too purpley red to eat!
I don’t remember mom ever serving beets to us, so maybe she wasn’t really a fan either.
These days I belong to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. I get a box of seasonal organic vegetables bi-weekly. This time of year there are beets in the box. As I have already reported, I don’t have a positive history with beets. My husband thinks beets taste like dirt.
I took the beets the first time they were in our box and found a recipe for roasting them. It has been my experience that you can eat most any vegetable if you roast it. They weren’t bad – but I knew I would need to develop a “taste” for them. Husband took a couple of bites without complaint, but he still prefers that I trade out the beets for something we like better.
Grandma had a recipe for Harvard Beets in with her recipe cards. I don’t know if she made them often or not. I’m going to share it here anyway for posterity’s sake. Then I’m going to follow up with a recipe that I want to try.
2 cups beets, diced
2/3 cup liquid (beet juice and water)
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/3 tablespoons sugar
2/3 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vinegar
Cook until smooth and well blended.
Most recipes I find for beets are of the roasted variety or involve shredding raw beets to add to a green salad. I thought this recipe from Laurel’s Kitchen might have potential in a different direction.
2 tablespoons coconut
1 teaspoon honey
juice of 1/2 lemon
grated peel of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons currants
(1 teaspoon vinegar)
Wash beets and steam whole until tender; then peel. Grate on ripple-shaped grater or slice in long, think sticks.
Peel, seed, and cut up oranges. Place half the oranges in blender with coconut, honey, lemon juice, and peel, and blend 2 minutes.
MIx all ingredients, balancing the sweetness with the additional vinegar if needed. Chill, letting the flavors blend for 2 hours or so.
Makes 3 cups.
Notes on Fruity Beety:
The recipe does not say how long to steam the beets. I think mine took about 25 minutes – I forgot to time them exactly. Easy to peel after steaming.
I had three golden beets in my box this week and two fairly large oranges on hand, so that’s what I used. Since my beets were a golden variety, my salad is a monochromatic orange. Had I had the traditional red beets, this would have been some shade of red.
I didn’t use any vinegar. I added a little coconut on top to make it prettier.
This wasn’t bad. I still haven’t developed a taste for beets, but I might if I make this a few more times. For those who really don’t like beets, but would like to cook with seasonal vegetables, you might add an additional orange and more coconut to mask the beets a little more. My husband said it tasted like oranges and roots. Obviously, he is still not a fan of beets. I tried. (sigh)