Today’s food pages introduce a seasonal series of columns by Anne Freeze. In Market Fresh each week, the former gourmet food store owner will highlight farmers’ market bounty and ways to use it. Freeze helped spearhead a revitalization of Columbus’ Hitching Lot Farmers’ Market several years ago. The community gathering place at Second Avenue and Second Street North celebrates its grand opening Saturday from 7 to 10 a.m. After May 10, the Hitching Lot is open Mondays 4 to 6 p.m. and Thursdays and Saturdays 7 to 10 a.m. Freeze will offer a cooking demonstration at the market May 17. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff
May 7, 2014 9:58:57 AM
Finally, we can all breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy this glorious spring, with summer following soon. And, there is no better harbinger of the warm days ahead than the grand opening of the Hitching Lot Farmers' Market on Saturday, May 10. At 7 a.m., Tony Rose will give his shout-out to start shopping!
You can expect to see various spring greens such as collards, mustard greens, kale and chard there. And I was pleased to hear from Phil Lancaster that he has beets. Not a huge quantity, but for those of you lucky enough to get some, you are in for a real treat.
First, I have a little health data on beets for you to digest. Beets are low in calories and carbs (woohoo!), high in fiber and a super energy food because of the natural sugars. Beets contain the phytonutrient betalaine as well as calcium, potassium and Vitamins C and A. Both the greens and the bulb are edible.
After purchasing, refrigerate the bulb separately from the greens leaving about an inch of the stem on the beet. It is simply a matter of fact that red beets will stain, so this is the time for wearing an old apron or T-shirt. If you do stain your clothes, wash them immediately.
Beets can be boiled or roasted. I prefer the roasting method as it is neater and the flavor is more concentrated. Simply fold the scrubbed unpeeled beets, a couple together if small, or singly if large, into a large piece of aluminum foil; sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and then close up the foil into a packet. Roast at 375 degrees until tender, approximately 45-60 minutes. The tip of a knife should be able to easily pierce the beet.
To boil, simply cover cleaned beets with water by a couple of inches and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the size.
The recipe today is a refreshing dish from India. I encourage you to explore other ways to eat beets -- raw, boiled or roasted.
Read about Columbus' farmers' market at hitchinglot.org.
BEETS WITH MINT AND YOGURT
8 ounces of beets, boiled or roasted
2 cups plain yogurt
3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
3 small garlic cloves or 1 large one cut into 3 sections
Note: This dish is very pink, so think ahead about the colors on your plate.
(Source: Madhur Jaffrey's "World Vegetarian," Clarkson Potter Publishers, New York)