In praise of plants…

Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. And Rule 17: Eat food cooked by humans, not corporations. 

Michael Pollan

After years of living downtown and devoting our small lot to growing a woodland garden and a Japanese-style meditation garden, we have changed things up and last year we planted a rather large vegetable garden in our newish, largish backyard.

We grew a long list of vegetables. Some did not do well (what’s up with those leeks and parsnips?) but others thrived. We gorged on beans, tomatoes, chard, leaf lettuce and radishes over the summer, among other veggies. It felt so wonderful to be more connected to our food source and to know it was not contaminated in any way.

What really thrilled me though were the beets and cabbages that we harvested recently. And both of these were so incredibly easy to grow. Tamp seeds in soil, mulch, pull plants out.

I’ve always loved fresh cabbage — it’s such a versatile vegetable — but I can’t say I had much acquaintance with fresh beets. Canned beets, of course, but they strike me as one of those “edible foodlike substances” Pollan talks about.

So this fall, I decided to get to know fresh beets. I steamed them, boiled them and roasted them. And I decided to try to make soup with them. Beet borscht.

I found a recipe that called for cabbage as well, so that was a double bonus, since we are awash in cabbages. If you check out the recipe link, you’ll find other ways to prepare beets from one of my favorite food bloggers, Elise, at Simply Recipes.

It’s clear why Tom Robbins calls beets “the most intense of vegetables.” What earthy flavour; what deep, rich colour!

I just love the way beets look after they are cooked and peeled. I admire their firm, round, glistening bodies. I had as much fun photographing these wonderful plants as I did cooking and eating them. And the beet borscht was a triumph.

Linking with Macro Monday and Sweet Shot Tuesdays.

 
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18 thoughts on “In praise of plants…

  1. I like both of your beet photos – especially the composition of the first one. I also like to take pictures of beets – freshly pulled beets still attached to their greens – and then hmmm! eat them!

  2. I tend to use West Coast Seeds, but a lot of their varieties are chosen for the west coast so maybe not so relevant for you. I have used Stokes and Dominion, which are in your neck of the woods, though they may not have as many organic or heritage varieties as you’d like. If you want a good, organically-focused small Canadian seed company, Richter’s is worth a look. They specialize in herbs but do carry some veggies. You can find them online; I believe they’re in Ontario..

  3. What a great suggestion, Laurie. Love all the ingredients. Will give it a go, for sure. Next year we will try some new veggies. Do you have a good seed source? Your photo of the rime-covered beets is just gorgeous.

  4. Lovely! And I couldn’t agree more. One thing you might try with beets, which we really love: a simple salad of cooked, sliced beets (steam or boil in their jackets then peel & slice), roasted walnuts and blue cheese, with a vinaigrette of sherry or white wine vinegar, mustard and olive oil. Heavenly!
    I’ve never had much luck with cabbages – we always get cabbage moths and their offspring chew big holes all through the cabbages. So I’ve given up on them, and grow their relatives instead: siberian kale (which overwinters here beautifully), broccoli and various others of the cabbage family.
    I did a blog last year on beets that you might like – here’s the link if you’re interested – or at least, hopefully this will work…I’m a bit rusty on my HTML formatting! 🙂

  5. Beets do look so beautiful, as your photo shows, Sherry. Such an intense shade of deep red that it’s hard to believe it’s made by nature. I’ve never tried beet borscht but it sounds wonderful.

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