Beetroot tops

Beetroot tops

I confess there was a time when I did not know that you could eat the leafy tops of raw beetroots. Now I have that knowledge, the next trick is to eat them when they are still dark green and fresh-looking.

I shredded the leaves and cut up the purple bits into a frying pan where I had heated olive oil and garlic. Cooking them in melted butter works well too. I fried spices but that is optional. Cook the leaves slowly enough until soft. No need for water. I also chucked in chunks of mushroom and served this nutritious dish with brown rice.

(It is pictured on my copy of the Guild of Food Writers‘ new-look magazine, Savour, where I learnt that Japan was a Buddhist vegetarian country until the 19th century.)

Whether you eat the leaves or not, do cut them off otherwise they draw out moisture from the beetroots. I learnt that fact from reading The Riverford Farm Cook Book – what a fab book, that is.

Written by iconoclastic farmer, Guy Watson, and the chef of Riverford Farm’s restaurant, Jane Baxter (who trained at the Carved Angel and the River Cafe), it’s a useful, informative and entertaining read.

Guy started farming organically in 1985 on the family farm in South Devon. Thanks to his brilliant idea of forming a cooperative with other local farmers, Riverford is now one of the UK’s largest organic growers with a veg box scheme that delivers all over the country.

I think cooperatives are the way to go, and especially for small family farmers – there’s strength in numbers especially when you are competing against agribusiness.

Guy says what he thinks, which is very refreshing. Quite rightly, he says the term “organic movement” sounds like everyone agrees with each other when in truth there is (healthy) debate.

The book is way-not pretentious. Clearly, Guy and Jane think the media-darling aspect of organics sucks.

Instead their voices are…well, down-to-earth. They give you a real grasp of how and when organic vegetables are grown, and basic yet tempting ways to cook them.

You know where you are with this book. I recommend it. Big time.

Cover of Riverford farm cookbook

4 responses to “Beetroot tops

  1. I never thought I would say this but…we are growing beetroot in our garden allotment (yes!) so this is very useful information. Thank you

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  2. Pingback: Beetroot, chocolate (and raw cocoa) brownies « Real Food Lover

  3. So I don’t have any space left for beetroot plants on my balcony. Where do I get the tops from? I had no idea you could eat them… thanks for the useful (and healthy) tip!

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  4. Mmm, I never used to think of eating them, either, but now that we buy all our veggies from the market, I get the tops when I buy a bunch of baby beets. Just had a lovely dish of them for lunch, with slowly sauted schallot and anchovies, and a dash of orange juice. Googled to see what others are making, and found your blog. Cheers!

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