Friday, July 20, 2012


 Photo: Beets World Community Cookbook

The scary lady farmer was proud of her garden, especially her beets. One day we had to wait for Dad while he talked to her husband. She left us alone awhile, then came over to accuse my little brother.

"There's tracks in my beets, and they look like his." She pointed a finger straight at Dave's chest. He was still too young to go to school and was innocent; neither of us had moved from the spot we were told to wait. But we were both too scared to say a word in his defense.

I like beets. The roots are colourful, tasty and nutritious, and can be eaten cooked, in soups, pickled or raw in salads. The fresh young leaves make wonderful salad greens, and both tops and roots are great for juicing.

As I learned from a long-ago roommate, the dye-like red water from boiled beets can be mixed with henna to add colour to fading hair. I never tried it myself, but it looked good on her.

Most people don't eat enough vegetables. Beets have many virtues. These days, they come in pink and gold, as well as the classic burgundy red. Recently I tasted my first beet chip: interesting, as the diplomat would say.

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