Our garden works in the way I imagine most gardens work in that we have hoards of cucumbers all at once, our two plants pumping out 20 pounds in a week, then an overload of tomatoes for three weeks straight, and so on. And yet I have no canning skills to speak of. Even if I did, would I really want all those pickles for the next two years? Truth be told, we end up giving away at least half of what our garden produces to neighbors and friends. And that it a wonderful feeling!
But thinking ahead, I’d like to make gardening more than just an enjoyable experience. I dream of a way to sustain our family’s needs throughout winter and spring in the way of canned tomatoes (which we use a lot of in lentil stew and chili and oven dishes), sauce, salsa, etc. And with our apple tree producing like gang busters this year, I foresee an applesauce situation in our near future. But before I bite the bullet and just learn how to can and preserve already, here is a good way to use up a lot of what’s producing for us right now (beets and apples). Plus, it’s really colorful and delicious!
- 4 beets, peeled and cubed
- 2 tart apples (ours are Granny Smith) peeled, seeded, and cubed
- 1 turnip (a lovely surprise that just turned up — no pun intended — in our beet garden!)
- 1 large sweet potato
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- sea salt to taste
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp chives
- goat cheese for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 425. Lightly oil a baking dish and place veggies and apple in dish (I like to keep them separate so that the colors don’t all turn purple, but it doesn’t matter if you just want to throw it all in there together). Toss with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt (I used about 1 tsp). Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, remove from oven and move around pan with a spatula to ensure even cooking. Cut butter into small cubes and scatter on top of veggies before returning to the oven for 10 more minutes.
Allow to come to room temperature. Garnish with chives and goat cheese if you prefer, and serve with quinoa and a big fresh salad, though it’s also just perfect for a small lunch on its own. Enjoy!