Appalachian Food

Growing Beets

Growing Beets

I’ve been growing Detroit Dark Red Beets for over ten years and each spring I am still amazed by their hardiness and how good they taste after a long winter.

I did not grow up in a home where beets were grown or even eaten for that matter. I guess Pap and Granny didn’t like beets.

It was only after I was a mother with a family of my own that I discovered I loved the taste of beets and decided to try my hand at growing them. Many people say beets taste like dirt…and they sort of do.

Years ago Miss Cindy shared her trick of rinsing the dirt off the beets and boiling them with the skin on to eat. The skins slip right off once the beets are cooked.

I love to pickle beets so that we can enjoy them all through the year, but the easiest way to enjoy them is to roast them in the oven. Sometimes I drizzle the beet with olive oil, season, and wrap it in foil before roasting. Other times I quarter them and toss with olive oil and other vegetables before roasting.

Beets are one of the best vegetables to grow in an effort to provide healthy food for yourself and your family because you can eat the beet and the leaves above it as well. Beet leaves can be eaten in the same manner as Kale or Spinach leaves and are very tasty.

Here’s my favorite beet recipes.

Beet Recipes

Tipper

Appalachian Cooking Class details

Come cook with me!

MOUNTAIN FLAVORS – TRADITIONAL APPALACHIAN COOKING
Location: John C. Campbell Folk School – Brasstown, NC
Date: Sunday, June 23 – Saturday, June 29, 2019
Instructors: Carolyn Anderson, Tipper Pressley

Experience the traditional Appalachian method of cooking, putting up, and preserving the bounty from nature’s garden. Receive hands-on training to make and process a variety of jellies, jams, and pickles for winter eating. You’ll also learn the importance of dessert in Appalachian culture and discover how to easily make the fanciest of traditional cakes. Completing this week of cultural foods, a day of bread making will produce biscuits and cornbread. All levels welcome.

Along with all that goodness Carolyn and I have planned a couple of field trips to allow students to see how local folks produce food for their families. The Folk School offers scholarships you can go here to find out more about them. For the rest of the class details go here.

Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like

18 Comments

  • Reply
    Anna
    May 16, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    I didn’t grow up in a beet eating house either. I will eat them but only in a Greek salad. I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy blind pig and the acorn. My grandmother was born on the southern border of Ohio but she used the same words and cooked the same as you have described here. In fact, I have made so many of the recipes ( and cornbread, lots of cornbread) that I gained almost 5 pounds. Reading here helps me remember my grandmother.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 15, 2019 at 7:54 am

    Tipper,
    I love beets too…If you wash and boil with about an inch of stem they won’t bleed into the water as much..but guess being an experienced canner you know that..They do have an earthy taste. I love them pickled either sweet or sour. Mom used to cook them and make a creamy sauce with them after they started getting tender. Mom and I were the only ones that ate them that way..Your beets are beautiful…we didn’t plant any this year..
    Love this post..

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    May 13, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    My son makes a delicious fresh salad with lettuce and spring greens, green onions, chopped boiled eggs, diced cooked beets and walnuts. It is delicious.

  • Reply
    SusieQ
    May 13, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    All this yummy beet sharing Love them pickled whole, but also like them other ways too…..never have roasted them ,gonna have a go at that….think I’d like them, enjoy many roasted vegetables… .

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 13, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    Oh, and I forgot about boiled eggs pickled in leftover pickled beet juice. My daughter loves them! When I boil my beets in order to skin them, I strain the water and use it in the pickling brine instead of plain water. That way I can make more brine to accommodate the eggs without weakening it any. Missy eats the nice purple eggs and I eat the beets!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 13, 2019 at 11:57 am

    Tipper,
    When I was a little thing, I had my older brothers to open a pint jar that mama had canned Beets. Only trouble is I didn’t know when to quit and got foundered on them. It’s been many years since then, even if they tasted like dirt. Probably over 68 years ago.

    I”d been outside playing and when I’d come back inside the house, it was a dead giveaway. There was a ring of dirt around my mouth, where I had been eating that stuff. Back then, I remember I loved the taste of beets, probably the reason I was a healthy brat. …Ken

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    May 13, 2019 at 11:41 am

    I love beets. But, after eating a whole can, I almost panicked in the bathroom! Pink urine! Our neighbor said her brother came out of the bathroom after a feast of beets & sheepishly said he had to go to the ER. They still laugh about his experience.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    May 13, 2019 at 10:43 am

    I dearly love pickled beets, could eat a whole jar!

    • Reply
      SusieQ
      May 13, 2019 at 1:37 pm

      I so could too

  • Reply
    Sallie, the Apple Doll Lady
    May 13, 2019 at 10:30 am

    I grew up eating pickled beets and that is about the only way they were prepared. While visiting Australia I was offered beet root
    soup. It took a minute to realize it was made
    from what I know simply as beets. Further research shows that beet “root” has a rich history, is nutritious and can be used in many different ways, even chocolate cake. I just might have to grow some.

  • Reply
    Quinn
    May 13, 2019 at 10:02 am

    We never had beets growing up but I certainly acquired a taste for them as an adult. It’s that earthy taste that appeals to me – I just get a strong craving and nothing else will do. I like them boiled, steamed, or roasted, with a little salt, or sometimes pickled. And Harvard Beets, which I never make but I splurge and buy a jar now and then, are vegetable candy 😉

  • Reply
    Dee
    May 13, 2019 at 9:58 am

    I love beets simmered and dotted with butter or pickled. I didn’t know you could eat the leaves and I never thought about baking them but I may try it now.

  • Reply
    Ava
    May 13, 2019 at 9:57 am

    I like to saute garlic, onion and cubed potatoes until tender and starting to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Then add shredded beets greens and cover. Cook until greens are tender. This is a Greek dish.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 13, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Only way I ever had beets was pickled. And I did not know one could eat the tops. I like them pickled but have never grown them.

    I wonder if they would make a good dye. And if they did, would it be more purple than red or more red than purple.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 13, 2019 at 8:32 am

    If beets taste like dirt then I guess I like dirt.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 13, 2019 at 7:48 am

    I like beets too, and yes, they are very earthy. I like them sliced and stewed with butter and salt sometimes sugar and vinegar. I like them most any way you can fix them. I like them warm or cold.
    The tops are good alone or mixed with other greens. I once found a package of greens in my grandmothers freezer marked “salad” it was a mixture of greens.
    My grandmother knew what hard times were and always kept a freezer full of food as well as hundreds of jars of canned food. I learned from her about mixing greens and stewing them with a little pork belly. I remember her talking about beet tops, polk leaves, dock, narrow dock, plantain, dandelion greens, lambs quarter and many others whose name I no longer remember. This was old country ways.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    May 13, 2019 at 7:15 am

    I was raised growing and eating beets and still love them. My favorites are Pickled Beets and Harvard Beets.

  • Reply
    Tmc
    May 13, 2019 at 5:28 am

    Beets juice is also used as an additive to de-ice the roads, someone told that and I had to look it up, and they do.

  • Leave a Reply