Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thinning the garden ??? Don’t throw these away !

I enjoyed a lovely home-grown luncheon with a friend recently. Everything, with the exception of the rolls, came from her “spring” garden and it was truly delicious. It reminded me of the meals I had in Italy where the only vegetables served were those in season … and picked that day.

It also took me back to my childhood when my sisters and I would plant, weed and enjoy the bounty from our garden. My mother, (having just come through the depression years), was extremely frugal and nothing that came from the garden was wasted. This was particularly true when it came to thinning the garden to give room for the heartier plants to thrive.

It was this practice that gave me one of my all time favorite food memories and one that I’ve not had (nor even seen served) for years. I’m talking about whole baby beets with their greens. The ones that are in the picture are actually much larger than the ones we used. We would thin out the crop early in the season and the little beets would be barely the size of marbles.

My mother would braise the beets in butter until the greens wilted and then she’d add chicken stock and simmer, covered, until the teeny beets became tender. Then, using tongs, she would transfer them to a platter, add a little cider vinegar and some fresh chopped mint and, VOILA … a meal fit for a king !

Well, that was more than 50 years ago and I can still remember the taste. You’d think I could have replicated that meal by now but store bought produce just isn’t the same.

Anyone out there have a beet field that needs thinning ???


Blogger Diana said...

I don't grow vegetables Ginnie,only flowers. I have in the past but my love for flowers took over!
I love beets. Haven't had them in years as no one else in the house will eat them. I didn't know that you could even eat the greens. I also love all types of greens.
Your Mom's way of cooking them sounds pretty good! Love Di ♥

2:11 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

Sounds good to me. We didn't grow any beets this year. But I think that might be something that we would like to grow in the future. Not much is wasted here.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Ginnie, if you had only asked last year we would have had fresh beets, but the garden is greatly downsized this year and NO beets are planted. However, we do have some frozen from last year's harvest.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

I love beets and have no idea why I don't plant them. I love that recipe and am making a note to correct my beetless garden in the future.

3:14 AM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

and the fruits as well. Just not as good as home grown...:)

4:48 AM  
Blogger KGMom said...

No beets here. I can't say that I have eaten beets, greens and all, though I love sweet & sour beets.
I had a vegetable garden years back, but gave it up as our children were growing. Now my gardening is all limited to flowers.

6:05 AM  
Anonymous Big John said...

I can still 'taste' the veg my dad grew in our small back yard during WW2. Now I buy fruit and veg in the supermarket that tastes of 'nothing'.

BTW ... Thanks for the information about those brave Australian flyers.

6:34 AM  
Anonymous schmidleysscribblins, said...

Wow this brings back lovely memories and tasty too. My parents always had a large vegetable garden and I had a row of my own where I could plant whatever I wanted. I usually planted radishes.

Gardening is a great pasttime for adults and children too.

7:57 AM  
Blogger ellen said...

I love beets! Your mother's way of cooking those wee babies sounds delicious.
When my older brother was little and didn't like beets, he would announce very loudly that, "Beets give me bad blood!"

10:49 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

I am so glad you remembered the comma. Otherwise the statement would have read, "...when my sisters and I would plant weed and enjoy the bounty from our garden."

I don't have a garden but we do have the best produce stand nearby, open from May until October. Farmers bring in the produce every morning to be sold that day. Oh, everything is so delicious.

4:27 PM  
Blogger possum said...

I don't grow beets, I am the only one who likes them here, and I have friends who share their's.
But one thing I have noticed for some time, food just does not taste as good as it used to... mostly we can thank genetic engineering. When food is manipulated to be resistant to this and that, bigger, rounder, whatever, it seems that something gets lost in the process. Then add chemicals to keep the bugs away, and weeds away, then we are eating poison. Pick the stuff too soon and gas it, spray paint it, give it a chemical bath... what can I say?
So I grow my own. Not always the prettiest, but I can promise the color is real and no poisons were used anywhere around the plant. When folks eat my stuff, they always marvel at the flavor. "Tastes different! Kinda like food used to taste!"
Wish we lived closer... your recipies and my veggies, I would put all the weight I lost back on in ne season! LOL!

4:19 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Beets are one thing I can't get my head around. Perhaps if I had tried your mother's way back then.

5:31 AM  
Blogger Steve Rugel said...

That sounds fantastic. Now I wish I had bought a house instead of a third floor condo flat! It's tough to garden up here, even with compact florescent lights!

6:50 AM  

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