Sunday, February 21, 2010

Heirloom Beets Rock!

I have heard many people say that beets are not one of their favourite veggies because of their earthy taste, which is one thing I LOVE about them. But beets pulled fresh from your garden are so much more than that. They are sweet, tender and delectable, plus they are all edible leaves included. It is like getting more bang for your buck- two veggies in one.
I have some really nice seeds for beets this year.
Albino is a beautiful white heirloom beet, sweet and mild flavoured and really nice if you are creating a dish and don't want the purple staining of red beets. I think it is the mildest flavoured beet, followed closely by Burpees Golden, a gorgeous golden beet which has consistently been my top selling beet at the market and to restaurants. Again, it is mild and sweet and is really yummy baked.
Bulls Blood beet is often grown primarily for it's beautiful greens which are a deep crimson colour and make a great addition to salad mixes when cut small. Early Tall Top is going to be the first beet you'll get in your garden, and is well know for it's beautiful greens that you can use for cooking. Or perhaps my favourite, Cylindra a cylindrical shaped beet that can get huge. Many people prefer these for pickling, because they are easy to slice, but they are just all around good.
Then the popular Chioggia beet, a gorgeous Italian heirloom, also referred to as candy striped because of it's concentric rings of purple and white flesh. Good too!
When saving seeds for beets, pulls up good specimens in the fall and store over the winter. I find that they store extremely well in barrels in my garage when layered in straw.
In the spring, replant as soon as the soil can be worked, and watch the magic happen. The beets will send up a seed stalk with clusters of seed on it, and when these seeds are brown on the plant, harvest,and store in a cool, dry and dark location until needed for planting.
Try some different beets this year, and enjoy a treat!

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