What’s Growing Now: Beets, Turnips, and Kohlrabi

After a slow start caused by some wonky weather, the garden is really starting to produce now. One of the first major hauls of the summer has been the root vegetables.  Check this out:

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This is a whole basket full of very ugly — but very delicious — vegetables.  We’ve got some beets in there, as well as some turnips and kohlrabi.  I’m especially pleased with the beets, as the last time we checked in on those, they were sort of doing their own thing.  They turned out fine anyway.

As for the kohlrabi … well, talk about a face only a mother could love:

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Gnarley, huh?  They’re part of the cabbage family and taste a little like a cross between a turnip and maybe a broccoli stalk.   Yeah, I was skeptical at first myself, but sliced and grilled up with butter, they’re delicious….

Which is the purpose of this post: what to do with the root vegetables that are so bountiful this time of year.

Because it has been so hot this past week, we’ve just been cooking them on the grill.  This has to be the easiest, coolest, tastiest way of getting those vegetables onto the plate.  With the turnips and kohlrabi, we just slice them thinly (so they look like sliced potatoes), coat them in oil, add whatever spices you like (nutmeg and a little salt works great) and wrap them in tinfoil. Cook the packets on low heat on the grill for about a half hour or until they’re tender, and serve them as a side, just as you would sliced potatoes.

If you’ve got kids and you’re in the mood to try a bait-and-switch, this might fool them for about 1/2 a second — just long enough to get a piece of turnip or kohlrabi close enough to their tastebuds that they realize that they LOVE root vegetables.  Or they may spit them out all over the table.  Either way, a worthwhile experiment.

As for cooking the beets, it’s the same general idea, although they need to be peeled before serving.  This takes no time at all, and the beets are worth it.  Here are some packets full of beets:

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We’ve got some chioggia beets in there (which are red and white striped inside) and golden beets in there as well.

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To remove the skins, just take a dishcloth, or your fingers, and gently rub the outside of the beet.  They’ll come right off.  You may want to use gloves if you’re peeling red beets and you need your hands not to look like they’ve been peeling beets — like if you’re a hand model — but if you’re not, just go for it.  It’ll wash off.

And when you’re done, you should have a nice pile of beets, ready to eat by themselves or as part of a recipe.  Aren’t they pretty?

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Here are the golden beets, followed by an up-close of the chioggias:

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And if it happens not to be 1000 degrees in your house right now, and you’re in the mood to cook, here is a simple, quick recipe for those beets.  It uses beets, broccoli and zucchini, which are also in season right now and are starting to grow.  If you grill the zucchini while you’re grilling the beets, this is easy to throw together.  Even better if they’re left overs.

WHAT WE HAD FOR LUNCH TODAY

1.5 cups grilled beets, cubed

1 small zucchini, cubed

2 small florets of broccoli

1 small onion

About 1.5 cups of cooked rice

1/3 cup of liquid (water or chicken stock)

oregano, thyme, rosemary & tarragon to taste

Sautee the onion in 2 Tbs of oil over medium heat until translucent, and then add broccoli and cook until tender.  Add herbs, zucchini and beets, and heat.  Then add rice, 1/3 cup of liquid, and cook until warm. Enjoy!

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