Heirloom Beet

One Saturday I woke up with a hankering for fried green tomatoes, which I haven’t had in years. So I stopped by my local farmers market to see if I could find some, and while there, I could pick up other veggies. I headed to Wild Miller Gardens stand, from Lee. He has a really neat stand.

joel

His veggies are so nicely displayed.

stand1

He did not have any green tomatoes so I bought a box of the small red cherry tomatoes for a salad. Now tomatoes were not on many menus in the 18th century, yet I wanted them. And you’re probably wondering why I call this blog heirloom beet. Often we find our path diverted, and come up with a new experience. Looking over the other produce I spotted some nice colored beets. Joel told me they were Golden Beets.  My husband doesn’t like the earthy flavor of red beets. He says they taste like dirt. I, however, love beets.  So I thought I’d try the golden ones and I bought a bunch. The Golden Beet is a form of the early blood turnip beet, beta vulgaris var. crassa. The yellow form of the blood beet, generally known as Yellow Turnip-Rooted or Orange Turnip-Rooted, It is sold today under the name Golden Beet.

Beets are a root vegetable and easily stored over the winter, many colonists considered it an essential winter food, especially during the infamous period known as the Six Weeks of Want, when most stored vegetables were used up and planting had not yet begun, so back to the 18th century. Thanks to many local farmers, we are able to purchase heirloom produce, many times grown organically as our forefathers and mothers did.

beets

I sliced the beets and then cut them julienne style. Nice thing about the color of the beets is that they don’t turn your fingers purple. On my way home from the market I stopped at a farm stand, and they did have green tomatoes, and I came away with two big firm green ones. Now I made a plan for dinner.

green1 copy

We had striped bass, kindly given to us from our friend Bob, who had been out on the sea fishing and was luckily and skillful enough to catch a few. I decide to fry everything and have a nice salad on the side.

Allan used fish fry for a coating on the fish and I used a beaten egg and bread crumbs on the vegetables. Then I made a great salad. When everything was done we went off to the porch to have our dinner and watch the antics of the hummingbirds at the feeder and the American Goldfinch splash in the fountains.

salad1 copy

The compound salad was dressed in my favorite homemade dressing of olive oil, white balsamic vinegar with garlic, salt and pepper and beau monde whisked together to a tasty emulsion. This was the perfect side dish to a fried dinner. Bob’s fish came out superb, I love striped bass. The meat was a happy medium between flaky and meaty and had a mild, delicate, slightly sweet flavor. The fried tomatoes had a tart flavor with a hint of sweetness that I love. I really should have them more often. Now I was not prepared to find that the beets had such a sweet flavor. It was like eating candy. I wanted more and more. And Allan likes the beets!!! Yea, one more vegetable to add to his short list of those he will tolerate. I will be buying more golden beets from Joel that’s for sure. I may even try to put some by in the root cellar to see how long I can keep them.

Sandie

“Breathe properly. Stay curious. And eat your beets.” 
 Tom Robbins

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , by Sandie. Bookmark the permalink.

About Sandie

Since I was a small child I have loved early fireplaces and the smell of smoke in an old house. However it was not until about Fifteen years ago that my journey into hearth cooking began. It all started at the Hurd House Museum in Woodbury Ct. I was the director of the Junior Docent program and among the programs each week we cooked. At about the same time a group of us started the Culinary Historians of Connecticut meeting once a month to discuss equipment used, receipt (18th century term for recipe), and anything between the late 1600 to late 1700 that had to do with hearth cooking. We were fortunate to try our hand at cooking at several Museums throughout Ct and many more private homes. We made cheese; we held a late 1600 dinner and shared our knowledge with others. Our group designrd our own tours such as the Kitchens of Old Wethersfield. In 2000 we were delighted to host the Historic Foodways group of ALFAM at the Hurd House during their conference at Mystic Seaport. We put together a great workshop of Puddings, Sausages, Brown Bread, Beverages you name it we offered it. I am now a member of the ALFAM foodways group. Then it was off to Colonial Williamsburg for the seminar The Art of 18th-Century Cooking: Farm to Hearth to Table. During the years I joined many workshops in Sturbridge Village plus their Dinner in a Country Village and breakfast at the Freeman Farm. So I was pretty much hooked on heart cooking and the 18th century way of life. I joined a wonderful group of ladies and we started the “Hive” a place to improve and grow your 18th century impression and offer research about material culture in 17070’s New England. We also travel with friends and have displays of clothing and teas at Museums in Massachusetts. Many events are held at the Hartwell Tavern at Minute Man National Park. They have been gracious enough to let us play there and entertain and share our knowledge with their visitors. Please visit our “Hive” site if the 1700 interest you. Then the move to New Hampshire and a job at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth as the co-coordinator of the Junior Role Playing workshop and eventually cooking in front of the hearth at the Wheelwright house. Not only did I enjoy making my evening meals at the hearth to take home but also talking with the visitors. I am an entertainer after all, check out my program page. Most recently I am working at the Museum of Old York in Maine as an educator, hearth cook and organizer of the Junior Docent cooking program in the summer. See some photos in the archive file Because I do make food with the docents and serve food to the public at our Tavern Dinners I took the National Restaurant Association tests called ServSafe and now have my Certification as a Restaurant Manager. I look forward to the Museum of Old York opening again this March 2012 and getting back to the hearth and teaching, however for now I’m cooking at home and enjoying doing so.

Comments are closed.