I love gardening. Making compost, preparing the soil, planting seeds, watching it all grow into sustainable food. The whole process. I don’t even mind the weeding. And it goes without saying that I absolutely adore the harvesting and eating end of it all.
But there is one thing I hate. The pain of doing this task has me dragging my feet every year when it’s time: THINNING the baby plants. Yes, I know it’s important, necessary. But it’s so hard to purposely rip out something I so lovingly sowed, watched sprout, and begin a new life. Something about it just seems so, well, wrong.
(Yes, I save the tender little sprout and feed them to my chickens. Yes, I know my garden can’t thrive without this dirty little deed. But, still, it pains me to do it. True story.)
This summer, though (and I can’t believe I haven’t done this before now), as I was thinning the long overdue beets, beets that were competing for space, crowded and growing strong, beets fighting to do what they need to do, despite my reluctance…I wondered out loud why I was feeding perfectly good beet greens to the chickens when I could eat them myself.
Yes, its true, this is the first year I’ve had this thought. But that one thought changed everything for me. Beet greens. I love them. In one instant the pain of thinning became the joy of fresh beet greens for lunch.
It’s all a matter of perspective, right?
I suppose there are many great ways to cook beet greens, but I keep it pretty simple. A little coconut oil, a little garlic, a little onion and I sauté it all up together. Mmmm. Simple. Tasty.
And super good for you. One cup of beet greens packs a super charged punch of 4 g of protein, over 200% of the daily recommended vitamin A, good doses of vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and fiber. All for a small 39 calories. Who can argue with that?
Now that I’ve turned the chore of thinning into instant gratification of good food, I’m wishing I had planted more beets. There’s always next year.
PS If you want to try a different beet greens recipe, I stumbled upon this one (I haven’t tried it yet but it looks good)…bacon, red pepper flakes and cider vinegar…it just gets better and better, right?! Mmmm.