Season’s Eatings: Beets

One of the joys of living in a temperate climate is being able to go to a farmer’s market in the middle of January and peruse the offerings of the moment. Eating seasonally in California often feels like cheating, since so much produce grows here year-round. Typically, in January, we get a lot of root vegetables, avocados, mushrooms, and one final week of grapes.

While grapes aren’t the sort of thing that can be found everywhere, root vegetables are (generally) widely available across the country in the wintertime, being the type of produce that doesn’t mind the cold and can stand up to less favorable conditions. I’ve been growing beets and carrots in our community garden plot, and while they are growing slowly, they are growing nonetheless.

© Knife & Fork Project

Atomic Red + Amarillo heirloom carrots, and their hybrid friends

Unfortunately, root vegetables can be a hard sell. It seems that people either love them or are really turned off by them. When roots are in season, they can be hard to embrace, but skipping vegetables altogether until spring will make you too unhealthy to embrace, well, pretty much anything.

Some roots are more palatable than others, but none seems to inspire quite as much consternation as the humble beet. Grown in the dirt, filled with highly-staining blood-red juice, simultaneously savory and sweet. It’s no wonder that we have trouble figuring out what to do with them.

I’m here to help.

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