Market Fresh: As the Hitching Lot prepares for Saturday's grand opening, Freeze talks beets

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 






Serves 6-8 




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 




  • Peel the beet and grate coarsely. 


  • Beat yogurt in a bowl with a fork until it is smooth and creamy. Add salt, pepper and cayenne. Mix. Add mint and beet and stir gently. 


  • Put the oil and garlic in a small skillet and set over medium-high heat. The garlic will soon begin to sizzle. Press down on the garlic with a spatula and let it sizzle some more, turning the pieces until they turn a medium brown. Pour the flavored oil and garlic into the bowl and mix. 


    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)