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Garden Fresh Recipes: Beets from the garden

Baked beets from the garden and pear salad with orange avocado dressing recipe

4 beets, skin on

1 pear (not over ripe)

2 oz. goat cheese

¼ cup pecans

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp water

Baby spinach or Swiss chard

Beet virtues

  • High in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C
  • Greens have more iron than spinach
  • Great source of copper, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and iron.
  • Source of folic acid, iodine, manganese, organic sodium, potassium, and fiber
  • Beets with round bottoms are sweeter than flat bottomed one
  • Do not overheat when cooking as this destroy essential nutrients

Wrap beets together in a foil package. Place in 425 degree F over for 45 minutes or until beets easily yield to a piercing fork.  When slightly cooled, remove skin by rubbing with a paper towel. Slice or quarter beets and refrigerate until cold. 

Meanwhile, combine water and sugar in pan and bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add pecans and cook on medium heat until golden and coated with sugar until the sugar is no longer runny. Remove to cool on parchment paper.

Dressing

¼ cup orange juice
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp avocado oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp raw sugar (or ½ tsp table sugar)
Mix together until emulsified.

When ready to serve salad, slice pear and arrange in alternate slices over a  bed of baby spinach.  Sprinkle with goat cheese and candied pecans.

baked beets and pear recipe
Pears ripen best when picked from the tree while still green. Left on the tree, they turn mushy and mealy inside. In this recipe, the gravelly texture of the pear can be set off by the smoothness of the spinach or complimented by the slight bitterness of the Swiss chard.

Growing beets in your garden

growing beets in the garden
This cool season crop will be tough if grown in hard or crusty soil.

Beets are a cool-season crop that don’t do well in hot weather, but they won’t germinate if the soil if too cold. Germination will take place in 5 to 7 days if soil temperature is warm enough.

Soak seeds 20 minutes and plant ½ inch (1 cm) deep, two to four inches apart. Be sure to keep the soil moist during germination, but beets like an even moist soil through the growing period.

Beets, as do all root vegetables, prefer a well-worked, friable soil to a depth of about 10 inches. They will be tough if grown in hard crusty or clay bottomed soil.  For clay-rich soil, add organics such as leaves or compost and mix well.

Stagger planting to have fresh beets throughout the season.

Diseases and pests of beets in your garden

Beets prefer slightly basic soils (pH 7.0). If beets have black rough-spots on the roots (scabs), soil may need more boron. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of borax (in laundry section of grocery store) to 4 litres of water. Spread evenly over 9 sq m (100sq ft) of soil to bring your PH level nearer to neutral (7.0) Circular lesions with a purple halo on the leaf is cercospora leaf spot, a fungal disease. Rotate this crop every two years, keep the area clean and beets watered.

For more information about beets, click here.

Beet disease
Cercospora leaf spot on beets can be cured with borax.
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