Whenever we hear about red beets, what often comes to mind is a not-particularly-tasty bowl of little red cubes served to us for lunch at school along with some meat and mashed potatoes. In reality, though, the red beet can offer so many tasty culinary options! And what‘s more, it contains a huge amount of beneficial substances which gives it almost miraculous healing properties.
EASY TO GROW
The red beet is an undemanding vegetable which anyone can grow in their garden. It‘s a biennial plant – in the first year, it produces edible bulbs, and in the second it blooms and produces seeds. While the bulbs are most often eaten, the young leaves are edible as well. Young, juicy bulbs are the tastiest and have a very mild flavor.
Every part of the plant contains red dye. Some varieties‘ flesh is colored flat red while others have concentric circles with lighter and darker shades of red.
Red beet is easy to grow. It needs enough humus and nutrients, and regular watering, or else the bulbs will be tough and less tasty. The compost shouldn‘t, however, be too muddy or too wet and needs loosening from time to time.
WHEN GROWING RED BEETS, SUPPLY THE SOIL WITH NUTRIENTS
The soil shouldn‘t lack potassium, phosphorus, or boron––without enough of the latter in the soil, the beets would be prone to mold.
Don‘t fertilize the soil with nitrogen; the red beet can extract it on its own from the nitrates in soil. The amount of sun it gets is also important, since thanks to sunlight the absorbed nitrates will be trans- formed into healthy substances.
The red beet is sown from April to June when the danger of cold mornings has already passed – red beet plants which don‘t get enough heat won‘t produce the bulb. The seeds should be planted about 1 foot apart from each other and about 1 inch deep.
Red Beet Soup
3 bulbs of red beets
3½ oz. butter
3 cloves garlic
2 cups vegetable broth
½ cup sour cream
Salt, pepper, 1 bay leaf, 3 balls of allspice
Heat up butter on the stove and add lightly chopped onion. Simmer until golden and add sliced carrot and diced red beets. Simmer again for about 15 minutes and then add finely grated garlic. Add in the spices and broth. Cover the pot with a lid and cook until the beets sof- ten – approximately 30 minutes.
When the vegetables are soft, take out the bay leaf and allspice and blend the mixture. Add sour cream and cook for a little longer. Add salt and pepper according to taste and, if you like, a pinch of chili powder. Serve with toasted bread and perhaps add a bit of sour cream on top for decoration.