We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers and our friends at HGTV Gardens to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Today we’re exploring beets.
Now that we’ve rolled fresh into September, the in-season stud of your next grocery loot is, inarguably, the beet. The root veggie may almost exclusively come canned, but it will arrive in no such packaging this time around. We mean it — spiky can openers and shiny cylinders are banned from your shopping bag from now through October. We’re talking fresh ones — and only fresh ones.
If you plan on growing your own beets, be sure to check out HGTV Gardens for great tips like getting an annual soil test to determine if you’re missing any nutrients or micronutrients. Beets are sensitive and grow irregularly in the soil if you have a boron deficiency.
But what does it mean for a beet to be fresh? To start, the colors can range from the quintessential deep magenta to vibrant gold, white and everything in between. Not only that, but going can-free ensures that BPA and other chemicals don’t weasel their way into your sweet, pristine beets. In the end, the biggest perk is pretty clear: Everything is simply better fresh.
More beet recipes from family and friends
If your New Year’s resolution is to eat smarter in 2012, it’s no secret that fresh fruits, vegetables, substantial proteins and healthful whole grains will become your best food friends this year. For a light meal that is easy to make and incorporates those hearty grains and good-for-you veggies, try serving a few simple yet satisfying salads in place of a traditional, heavy meal. Ditch those basic leafy green salads and opt for ones that boast interesting ingredients and textures.
Food Network Magazine’s Warm Beet-Orange Salad (pictured above) is packed with such in-season eats as tender roasted beets and bright citrus. Toasted walnuts add a welcome crunch to this colorful plate.
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As November comes to a close, serve one last bright meal that channels summer and casts away the soon-to-be-winter chill. Beets are not only pretty, but this versatile root vegetable can be easily thrown into a quick salad.
When shopping, choose beets that are firm and have smooth skin. Small or medium-sized beets are often more tender, while their color can range from a garnet red to white.
Serve a Beet and Apple Salad (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine as an easy starter. Apples and sugar give this dish a natural sweetness, while endive and walnuts add some crunch.
More beet recipes from family and friends »
Though you may have only had them sprinkled atop Greek salads, beets — both golden and purple — are best featured as a dish’s main ingredient, allowing their natural sweetness, unique firm-yet-flexible texture and vibrant color to shine through. As the weather dips toward lower temperatures, beet season moves into high gear. Check out our simple recipes below for classic and creative takes on this underappreciated yet fruitful vegetable.
For a healthful salad that is quick and easy to prepare, try Food Network Magazine’s Roasted Beet Salad (pictured above). Simply roasted, dotted with savory capers and drizzled with Worcestershire and hot sauces, these fiber-rich veggies are ideal as a light lunch or simple side.
More beet recipes after the jump »