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Today’s post is all about beets. Actually, it’s about the stuff on top of your beets–the beet greens.
I’ve talked about how I enjoy going to our local farmer’s market and the fresh produce that I purchase. I had intended to post several follow up recipes using the produce that I purchased, and I prepared everything. The problem was that I only photographed a few of them, and I was distracted by my 30 day of beans series. This recipe is one of my farmer’s market produce recipes that’s been sitting unfinished in the queue, waiting to be published. The idea for this post was born during a visit to a friend’s house. She’s a very healthy eater, and she had just returned from the farmers market. As she was preparing her vegetables for storage, she removed her beet tops and was preparing to throw them into the trash. I immediately inquired what she was doing. She had never heard of eating beet greens, so I prepared them for her. She really enjoyed them, and no longer tosses her beet greens into the trash. I realize that she is probably not the only person who has never eaten beat greens, so I decided that I should post my recipe for beet greens. Aside from giving you an extra side dish for the cost of your beets, beet greens are loaded with nutrients. Unfortunately, like most other vegetables out there, not everyone likes them. An important thing to remember when preparing beet greens is that they are much stronger than other greens. They also have a bit of beet taste to them, so people who like greens, but don’t like beets will probably not enjoy them. The best tasting beet greens are the smaller ones that are removed from young beets. The older the beets, the stronger the flavor of the greens.
Like all greens, the mountain of beet greens that you struggle to fit into your pan will shrink down to nearly nothing in the cooking process. Preparing beet greens is really simple. In fact, the beet greens that I made for my friend were ready before she finished putting away her groceries. Remove the greens from the beets and rinse them well to rid them of all the dirt and sand before you begin to make the dish. Beet greens seem to have much more dirt on them than kale or collards, so this step is very important unless you enjoy the gritty taste of dirt on your food. The pot liquor from the beet greens will be red, just like the cooking liquid from beets. Of course, if you use the orange beets, it will be orange. Either way, I think they’re very pretty, but my photography doesn’t do them justice. My recipe calls for cider vinegar because as a child, my mother always put a little cider vinegar on our greens. It wasn’t until I married Baker’s Man that I learned that not everyone puts vinegar on their greens. I believe he told me that I “ruined his bowl of greens” and asked “Who puts vinegar on greens?” I told him that my family did, all of the time. He was incredulous. His dislike of vinegar is the reason I have also included the option of using lime or lemon juice on the greens.
Here’s the printable recipe. Give beet greens a try and let us know what you think.
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- 2 bunches of beet greens, thoroughly washed
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ to 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar (optional--you may use the juice of a half of a lemon or lime, instead.)
- Remove stems from beet greens if they are thick. If they are thin, chop them into small pieces and set aside.
- Slice beet greens and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a pan large enough to hold all of the beet greens.
- Add shallots and saute for 1 - 2 minutes
- Add beet stems (if you reserved them) and allow them to sautee for 2 - 3 minutes until both they and the shallots are tender.
- Add beet leaves and stir until tender.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Splash with a little cider vinegar or other acidic taste (lime and lemon juice work well, too)