When I got my allotment garden / kleingarten my main motivation was having a space for lil GG, who arrived four days after we signed the contract. However growing food to eat has been a joy, and it turns out people are really impressed if you serve them food you grew yourself.
I only sowed seeds this year for the first time. As I paid for them I thought that the worst thing that can happen is that I gamble 50 euros on seeds that don’t grow and the best things is that I end up eating from my garden.
Chioggia beets were quite successful. Below is a short recipe – but this is more of a recommendation to, if you don’t already, try growing some food next year. On a windowsill, on a balcony, in your garden or a community garden or allotment – even in your local park. Or forage – remember that you are an animal too and can eat from your environment. If you don’t like it, spit it out.
I planted the chioggia beets all over my garden in differing soils and light conditions and my tongue and brain have been much educated about the root vegetables produced under differing conditions. This is true of many plants – I have nibbled so much small chard leaves these summer, while pottering around. This passage from Harald McGee’s Keys to Good Cooking inspired me to start growing food:
Much of the produce we see in markets, farmer’s markets included, has been harvested late in its edible life, for maximum mass and durability. Until I had a chance to grow somevegetables myself and chew on them every day or two through the season, I hadn’t noticed that big romaine lettuce leaves often taste rubbery, or realized how unlike their usual oversize versions midsize chard and collards are, tender and sweet and mild after just a few minutes of cooking. – Harald McGee, Keys to Good Cooking.
- several chioggia beets, well washed and trimmed of leaves
- Olive oil, ideally cold pressed.
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- A flat bottomed ceramic dish.
- Slice the chioggia beets as thinly as you can.
- Arrange one layer in a ceramic or glass (not plastic bowl).
- Pour olive oil over the first layer, just enough to barely cover.
- Squeeze lemon juice over the beets.
- Continue to layer the thinly sliced beets and cover with olive oil and lemon juice.
- Allow to marinate for at least one hour; refrigerate if marinating for longer.
- crusty wholewheat bread spread with cashew butter or vegan cream cheese and topped with raw marinated chioggia beets.
- You will have olive oil leftover afterwards that is very gently flavoured by the beets: use it in a salad dressing.
- Leaves can be used instead of spinach or chard in any recipe (as long as they are in good condition).