Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Eating from the Compost Pile

Oh, man!  Did I ever have some delicious beet greens for supper!

BBBH and I were walking the dog in the open field behind our house, as is our wont.  A neighbor several doors north of us cultivates and maintains a very nice little garden.  As she walked by this little gem, BBBH noticed that the gardener had harvested his beets, cut off the tops and discarded them on his compost pile.  She called this to my attention and I had a fistful of greens in my hands at once.

I never cease to be amazed at the profligate behaviors of some folk but this one puzzles me greatly. Why on earth would someone plant and nurture beets then cast off the best part of the plant?  Now I like beets, I mean the bulbous root things, boiled with salt and butter, pickled, or what have you.  But the greens are the very tastiest and most desirable part of the crop;.  Just sayin'.  Over and over.

In my gardening days, I lovingly planted a row of beets.  When it was time to thin them, I pulled the plants,  teeny-tiny globe and all, cooked them up.  Then when I harvested the globes I had greens again.  Following that feast, I would plant another row of beets and start the process anew.  Well, I don't do that anymore, but I'll fix the greens if you give them to me.  Or throw them on your compost pile.


  1. Wash tops thoroughly in cold water.
  2. Discard excess stem (on older leaves) leaving five or six inches.
  3. Boil in large pot until tender.  Ten minutes or so.
  4. Drain; put blob of butter on top (there has been no substitute in this house for years).
  5. Optional: sprinkle a dab of vinegar on greens
  6. Eat!
There are any number of recipes for "beet greens" out there, but most of them add a bunch of seasonings and stuff.  Simple is better.


Vee said...

I will be taking your word on this, just as I took my mom's word that dandelion greens are wonderful. : )

Grace said...

Growing up we ate a lot of greens - our greens were cooked simply as well - steamed with just the water that was left on them after washing and then sauteed with garlic and oil - us being Italian and all - and yes definitely the tops to main vegetable event. I am fond of all the parts of the beet. (I don't remember what dandelion greens taste like but we did eat them - picked when young and tender, probably in the salad?)

vanilla said...

Vee, I have to tell you it is your loss.

Grace, the beet is a wonderful plant, basically delicious from end to end. I eat dandelion greens, too. I think they are a bit harsher than beets but no more so than turnips. I enjoy greens!

Secondary Roads said...

Those thinned beets with those itsy-bitsy scarlet globes and tender succulent greens are fabulous! One of my garden favorites. Last night, we had Swiss chard greens. Both boiled with vinegar and in our salad. Today, I'll harvest some red romaine and leaf lettuce for tonight's salad.

vanilla said...

Chuck, you are living the leafy life!

Ilene said...

Trash picker! Hahaha! Interesting that you would grow beets for the purpose of harvesting the greens. I can remember when mom and I used to gather dandelion greens for cooking. I loved them. I recently bought some locally grown ones. Apparently people grow them on purpose. They just weren't the same, though. Maybe it was the experience with harvesting them with Mom that made them taste so good, or maybe they are better in Indiana than they are in Jersey.

vanilla said...

Ilene, go ahead, laugh. We've no trouble finding sufficient dandelion greens in the neighborhood come Spring. You may be right in that much of the pleasure of your memory is derived from having done the activity with Mom. Basically, I season mine with salt and vinegar.

Lin said...

I've never had the greens, but I do love pickled beets. YUM!

vanilla said...

Lin, I do like them pickled as well. Try the greens!