One of the most wonderful things about having an allotment, is the sense of community spirit and generosity it promotes. So far we have been inundated with helpful tips from our gardening neighbours and even had some pumpkin plants donated to our patch.
This week we have been given a handful of beetroot from one of our co-allotmenteers' early harvest.
We do have some of our own beetroot growing from seed but, as we only found out we had successfully acquired an allotment in April, we are quite behind many of the others. Hopefully we will have a bunch of our own deep-red roots later on in the season, to return the favour.
Beetroot seems to be a pretty hardy vegetable to grow - we had no problem with it in a tiny scrap of stony earth last year, although the lack of space did make the beets rather small. It prefers moist, fertile soil and a sunny spot and grows best when seeds are sown directly into the ground from mid-Spring.
As for what to do with it - once you get past the thought of jar upon unopened jar of the pickled stuff - its actually pretty versatile and yummy. Tonight we had ours roasted, with some other veg and cous-cous but you could try it in a warm salad, add it into some brownies, make a delicious, Russian-inspired borscht soup or even add it to some fruit in a nutritious smoothie. Not only does it add a splash of colour to any meal, beetroot is high in nitrates proven to lower blood pressure. See here for more information on the health benefits of this seasonal vegetable.
What are you harvesting and cooking up this week?