Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dig It

Root veggies are delicious and good for you too.

I really get a kick out of root crops, or veggies grown underground, I should say. There's just something about digging down and coming up with something that you can actually eat. You never know exactly what you're going to get either. Okay, so when I pull on a carrot top, I know it will be a carrot on the other end, but how big will it be? Sometimes I pull on a bushy looking top thinking it will be a biggun' and end up with a skinny little root.

Now, you'll notice in the picture that there's more than one type of carrot shown. The somewhat regular orange one is a Sugarsnax. A nice enough carrot. But the one that really gets me, is the purple one. I've shown a few of these before. No, you don't need your monitor calibrated, it really is purple, at least on the outside. Some of them are a deep, deep purple and some more of a reddish color. I've noticed that the smaller more immature ones tend to be less purple, although not evident in this bunch. Most of the earlier ones I picked were of the lighter color and Hubby was calling them, "striped carrots". If you were to slice the carrot, you'd see a few millimeters of purple and then an orange core. I suppose if I peeled it with one of my more aggressive peelers, I'd be back to orange carrots again. I like to leave that purple part on and give it a good scrub under the water and a light scraping with a knife. After cooking, they remain purple.

A closer look at Purple Haze Carrots freshly pulled from the garden.

Potatoes are a total mystery. The plant can be big or small and that's no indication of what's growing below. I have to dig down deep to find my potatoes and I never know how many or how big they will be. These few pictured at the top of the page would be considered "new" potatoes. They aren't fully grown. The red is "French Fingerling" sometimes called Roseval or Nosebag. An heirloom variety, the story goes that these potatoes made it here in a horse's feed bag. To harvest new potatoes, I try to leave the plant undisturbed and gently dig down below into the soil and sneak a few potatoes out. This leaves the plant intact and able to bring the rest of the crop to maturity.

Beets seem to be a less favored veggie it seems (by others, not me!) and I can't figure out why. They taste good, a sweet veggie, and good for you too. They're high in folic acid, potassium, calcium, and antioxidants. The tops are edible too, full of vitamins, and can be used like any other green. Although, I must admit, I haven't tried them...yet. I also recently came across a recipe for a raw beet salad. Beets are pretty hard when raw, so I bet it would be crisp. I may give it a try some time soon. As for my beets, I've grown golden beets, which are orange on the outside and strikingly yellow on the inside. Also the more well known dark red beets, which are a deep fuschia that I think is beautiful. The juice of which can be used as a dye.

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