The Big Beautiful Beet

Ruby Red Beets fresh from our Garden

Beets add brilliant color to the garden. They’re all kinds of red from top to bottom. They hold their tall upright shape and color until you’re ready to pick them. You can plant them just about anywhere to add a pop of color and then eat the entire plant, leaves, stalks and beet. Now that’s beautiful!

Art in the Harvest

Beets are one of the easier veg to grow. They’re extremely low maintenance. Almost a “plant and forget” crop, needing little water once established. Harvesting them is just as easy. There’s no cutting them off branches or figuring out how to pluck just the ripe without knocking all the greens ones off at the same time (think cherry tomatoes). It’s usually just a tug on their greens to get the soil to give up the beet.

Beets are a cool weather plant that likes to be directly sown in the soil rather than transplanting from seeds started indoors. Here in Zone 5, Illinois, we can plant the seeds as early as March, or roughly three weeks before the last frost. If you really love your beets like we do, you can plant a variety of beets every couple of weeks until temperatures reach 80°F.   Beets can then be planted again in late summer or early fall. They’ll be ready to harvest in 6 to 8 weeks.

Extending my time in the garden by planting a second crop for a fall harvest shortens the winter for me. I have harvested greens and beets even after a snowfall. It’s always amazing to me to see what grows from the tiny seed planted just a couple of months ago. It never gets old.

Recipe for Herb Roasted Beets

Beets with Thyme

Now that you’ve harvested your beets there’s so many different things you can do with them. Roasting them is simple and, as with any roasted vegetable, it brings out their sweetness. We roasted our beets with herbs. Here’s the Recipe.

Ingredient List:

  • Beets
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Foil
  • Herbs on their Stems (we used Rosemary and Thyme)
  • Sea Salt

Instructions:

First – Preheat your oven to 375 F

Second – Wash and peel your beets. Quarter the larger beets so you can group similair sizes together in the foil packets.

Third – lightly coat the beets in the grapeseed oil. I use grapeseed oil because it doesn’t add any flavor to what you are cooking, which is what I prefer with my beets. If you want to add another layer of flavor, both Olive oil and Walnut would be perfect.

Fourth – Rinse your herbs. There is no need to dry them and no need to take them off their stems. The flavor we are going for here is a light herbal infusion.

Fifth – Put the beets and herbs in foil. Fold the foil over the beets leaving some room for air. Place them on the middle rack in your oven and roast for 20 -30 minutes. The beets are done when they are easily pierced with a fork. .

When your beets are done you can serve them warm or store them in your fridge for up to a week. We made a salad with some of the greens from the garden.

It took about two months to make this salad, but the wait was worth it.