Last winter, when we were trying to plan non-material holiday gifts for the family, I asked my sister-in-law if she'd enjoy a CSA (community supported agriculture) subscription enabling her family to access local produce on a weekly basis from the spring through the fall. Her hesitation was that she didn't want to be stuck with vegetables she didn't know what to do with or that would require too many precious hours trying to figure out what to do with. This is the issue that a lot of people have with CSA's - no voice in the choice of what they get. Probably conjures up, to some, what socialism must feel like: you get what you get and that's it. But with a little effort, and a change in thinking about food, it's probably a really beneficial thing in the end when you consider how little we rotate the typs of food we eat. And in my experience, repetitious eating of one type of food has led the susceptible some to develop food intolerances or food allergies.
One interesting reflection is this: my homestead/farm is a giant CSA box and during this first full year of production, I'm feeling the challange of eating seasonally and locally on a large scale. How many ways can I have english peas, sugar snap peas, and puntarelle (Italian dandelion)? Just yesterday, I harvested 9 lbs of baby beets of which 6 lbs of those were beet greens. Only recently have I seen beet greens packaged in salad bags at Whole Foods. Typically, they were discarded or given away for free from the grocer years ago, but I've witnessed their revival as a "new" addition to the green leafy vegetable repetoire. Beets can be easily stored in the refrigerator crisper if you remove the greens and leave about an inch of stem in place but the greens need to be eaten in a much shorter period of time. I counsel people very frequently on food as either part of prevention or for therapeutic reasons and I find myself, like some of my patients who almost exclusively enjoy a brown, white and tan diet, a little afraid of the large mound of beet greens that lay in front of me. There's the obvious sauteeing of the greens with garlic and oil. Simple, nice, but over the next week, my taste buds need more to interest me.
Here are some interesting recipes I have lined up for the next week, all found on the web:
1. Sauteed Beet Greens (non vegetarian)
2. Sauteed Beet Greens (vegetarian)
3. Roasted Beet Salad with Beet Greens and Oranges (from Epicurious)
4. Beet Green Pasta (from Alice Waters Chez Panisse Vegetables)
If a structured recipe is not your thing, Chowhound has wealth of ideas from many people answering a blog query on ideas for beet greens.
Farmer Pam, MD
I have to share the latest beet green recipe I've discovered. It has an Indian influence and can easily be interchanged with swiss chard. Yum!