|Our garden is in full bloom and the trendy color now is red! The strawberry patch is still producing a few berries, but lettuce, beets and potatoes — all red — are plentiful. In the greenhouse four tomato plants provide enough fruit for our salads, and peppers are gradually ripening to red.
Yugoslavian Red lettuce growing in a planter, red potatoes and Chioggia beets I picked Sunday afternoon.
Beets, a crop I wasn’t successful with last year, are growing in two raised beds. This year I planted an Italian heirloom variety called Chioggia (pronounced Kee-oh-ja). These beets are a bright red, not the deep burgundy color of ordinary beets. When you cut into them you find concentric circles of red and white that turn pink and golden when the beets are cooked.
Sunday night I took two large beets (six to eight inch diameter) and drizzled olive oil and ground pepper over them, then wrapped them tightly in foil, put them in a shallow pan (to avoid drips in the oven) and baked at 350 for over an hour, until I could put a fork through them. This is my favorite way to prepare beets. The thin skins peel off easily with your fingers and the beets taste sweet and moist.