The personal blog of Frank Lesko. Award-winning writer. Non-profit entrepreneur. Activist. Religious professional. Foodie. Musician. All around curious soul and Renaissance man.

See also my professional blog: The Traveling Ecumenist.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Can't Beet That

Now this is the part of summer I really love:

Erin and I sat down to a delicious dinner of just-dug red potatoes and beets, both grown about 15 feet from the house--not bad, considering the potatoes came from a bag we were throwing out in early May, but decided to plant just for the heck of it. This was way before the frost warning was over, but it worked out nicely. The potato plants are really struggling with bugs, but the crop was nice of the few that we picked.

In another pan were some garden-fresh green beans baked with naturally-raised pork chops--decked out with fresh rosemary from the front yard.

There was also a plate of steamed kohlrabi greens. The kohlrabi patch desperately needed thinning, so I helped out the garden as well as helped myself to some greens.

The beets were boiled, and the color bled out quite a bit. However, they retained their taste and the freshness was outstanding. Still, its amazing when you can see the color loss so blatantly, which probably mirrors the nutrition loss. I'm sure the same amount of loss occurs with potatoes, but you don't have such a strong color to bleed out like that so you probably don't notice. We left the beet skins on and boiled them together with the potatoes, with a steamer rack on top with the greens.

In the past, we've always baked the beets first, then peeled and threw them in a recipe. It is good to know that leaving the skins on and a simple boil works just as well when we don't have the time for the extra steps. We'd rather eat the skins, anyway, since that is probably where the nutrition is, like for potatoes. The beets need a little longer cook time than the potatoes. The next time, we're going to try just steaming them and see how long it takes. Steaming usually takes longer than boiling, but the cook times can be surprisingly similar, and the nutrition retention is significantly better.


  1. I am sooooo addicted to rosemary and I'm jealous you have some fresh growing in your yard. I just found this flavor of Triscuits--"Rosemary and olive oil." Needless to say, the box did not last long. Carby and bad, I know! But so damned good.

    I need to get me some rosemary plants so that I can put it on my potatoes... and anything else I may cook (not a fan of green beans so it wouldnt be on that).

    I love beets too!! My ex-bf's grandma (God bless her soul) used to make this EXCELLENT borsch... Oh man, that stuff was good...

  2. Its not too late to buy a couple rosemary plants from a local nursery. You should be able to get a discount this time of year. They don't need much attention if you get a mature plant, and you can snip off little sprigs when you need to spice up your food.

    Easier to plant outside than to grow in pots indoors.

  3. Does rosemary like the shade or the sun, or something in between? I think I might go look for some...

  4. It likes it when you buy it and put it in the ground. It needs minimal attention.

  5. Have you tried a little rosemary in potato salad? I use this instead of pickle or relish, it's a great substitute.

  6. The trick to get your beets to retain their color and nutrition is to leave about 2 inches of the stalk on and the tap root in place. Don't forget to eat the greens :)