I had grown tired of the usual tomatoes, corn, beans and melons, and decided to experiment with something new.
The farmers market didn't disappoint. Huge tomatillos with the paper husks bright purple okra, giant Armenian cucumbers and three different colors of beets were some of the more uncommon selections sold by vendors.
The beets were so beautiful that I picked up three different varieties to make a beet salad. I have vivid, bad memories of tasting Harvard beets from a jar when I was a young girl and spitting them out in disgust. But I decided to stretch my culinary imagination and attempt to make the beets palatable.
Boy was I pleasantly surprised!
The root vegetables were purple, orange and red with concentric white rings so my eyes were hooked right away. I took them home, washed them and boiled them in a saucepan for about 20 minutes until fork tender. After cooling, I peeled and sliced them into a bowl and then put together a vinaigrette of oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper and poured it over the beets. After they stood for a couple of hours, I sprinkled them with goat cheese, chopped fresh dill and parsley.
After tasting them, I made up my mind to try growing beets next year in my own garden. They are easy to start from seed in cool weather and are frost tolerant.
Here are the measurements for the ingredients in the salad.
- 3 bunches of different colored beets (4 in each bunch)
- 4 tsp red wine vinegar
- 4 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 T minced shallots
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 2 tsp chopped fresh dill
- 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
Beets are full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds and iron, according to Livestrong.com. The site also mentions that you can eat the foliage tops, which contain more nutrients than the root. With this in mind, I saved the tops, washed them and added them to a green salad.
The Baltimore County Farmers Market is held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds on York Road on Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. until Oct. 26.