Category: Beets

Recipe: Gluten-Free Apple, Beet, and Date Crisp


A few weeks ago farm member Sarah Hamstra asked me if I’d ever tried beets in an apple crisp.  I had not, but since I’m a big fan of almost anything that gets topped with vanilla ice cream, I decided to give it a try.  As a base recipe, I used America’s Test Kitchen’s apple crisp recipe from their fabulous The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook.

The night I served this to my family, I told them it contained a special ingredient and they had to figure out what it was. Since my kids like beets and are used to eating my food experiments, no one seemed that surprised by the veggie addition, and everyone agreed that the new version was just as delicious as the original–yay!

I find this recipe is best made on a day when you have some time, maybe a Saturday morning (crisp works perfectly well for brunch!) or a relaxed Sunday afternoon.  Make yourself a cup of coffee or grab a glass of wine.  If you want to make it a family affair and you have children, enlist their help.  If you need some time alone, shoo those kiddos outside, put on some music, and simply enjoy yourself.

Start by prepping the topping.  First, cut 6 tablespoons of butter into 6 pieces and let soften.  Set aside.  Then preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking with parchment paper.  Place 1 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats on one side of the baking sheet and 1 cup chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans on the other side.  (ATC calls for almonds, but since I never know which nut I’m going to find in the cupboard, I’ve tried all these–any of them works here.)  Bake for 3-5 minutes, until the oats and nuts are lightly toasted.  Set them aside to cool.


Next, quarter 4 small beets, or cut 2 large beets into 1″ pieces–you’ll want to end up with about 1 cup of beet pieces.  While recipes with beets often call for peeling, if your beets are fresh and tender (like those found in your fall share), there’s no need to peel. Steam the beets for about 10 minutes.

Grab a large bowl and add 4 teaspoons lemon juice and 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch.  Whisk these together until the cornstarch is dissolved.  Keep this bowl close by; it’s where you going to be adding the rest of your filling ingredients.

Cut 4 Gala apples (or whatever kind of apple you have on hand) into 2″ pieces to end up with around 5 cups of pieced apples.  Next, half 1 cup of pitted dates.  Add both the apple and date pieces to the bowl.  Once the beets are done steaming, add them to the bowl, along with 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and a pinch each of salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix this all together until the fruit/veggie pieces are coated.  Set aside.

If you have eight ramekins, lightly grease them to prepare them for the filling.  Ramekins work well for company or if you want to easily hand out individual servings.  If you don’t have ramekins, transfer the filling to a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish.  Whichever you use, cover it tightly with tin foil, and bake for 20 minutes.


Back to the topping.  First, set aside 1/4 cup each of the toasted nuts and oats.  You’ll be using them for finishing touches at the very end. Next, get out your food processor and pulse the following ingredients together until combined (about 5 pulses): 1/2 cup of the toasted oats, 5 tablespoons of Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose Baking Flour, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar or coconut sugar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon water, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.  Remember that butter you set aside at the beginning?  Add that, along with half of the toasted nuts, over the topping mixture and process for about 30 seconds, until the mixture clumps together.  Sprinkle the rest of the nuts and oats over the mixture and finish with 2 quick pulses.


Assuming your filling is finished baking, remove it from the oven, uncover, and stir well.  Cover the filling with pieces of the topping–it won’t cover it completely, which is fine.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, rotating the dish(es) halfway through baking.  When the topping is lightly browned and the fruit is tender and bubbling around the edges, you’re good to go!  Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 15 minutes. 

I recommend serving with the purest vanilla ice cream you can find and/or real whipping cream.  Finally, sprinkle the reserved toasted nuts and oats on top of the ice cream.  Enjoy!


 Photography: Anne Kingma

Gluten-Free Apple, Beet, and Date Crisp
A unique take on a classic recipe.
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  1. Topping
  2. 1 cup GF old-fashioned rolled oats
  3. 1 cup chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans
  4. 5 T Bob's Red Mill GF All-Purpose Baking Flour
  5. 1/4 cup packed brown sugar or coconut sugar
  6. 2 T granulated sugar
  7. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 1 tsp water
  9. 1/8 tsp salt
  10. 6 T unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and softened
  11. Filling
  12. 4 tsp lemon juice
  13. 3/4 tsp cornstarch
  14. 4 small or 2 large beets, cut into 1" pieces and lightly steamed
  15. 5 Gala apples, cut into 2" pieces
  16. 1 cup pitted dates, halved
  17. 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  18. pinch of salt
  19. pinch of cinnamon
  20. pinch of nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place oats on one side of the baking sheet and chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans on the other side. Bake 3-5 minutes, until oats and nuts are lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk together lemon juice and cornstarch in large bowl. Add apples, beets, dates, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and a pinch each of salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir until well coated. Place in 8 individual lightly greased ramekins or a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish. Cover tightly with tin foil, and bake for 20 minutes.
  3. Pulse together the following ingredients until combined(about 5 pulses): 1/2 cup of the toasted oats, flour, brown sugar or coconut sugar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, vanilla extract, water, and salt. Place butter and half the toasted nuts over the topping mixture. Process for about 30 seconds, until the mixture clumps together. Sprinkle 1/4 cup each of nuts and oats over the mixture and finish with 2 quick pulses. Set aside remaining nuts and oats.
  4. Remove filling from oven, uncover, and stir well. Cover the filling with pieces of the topping.
  5. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, rotating the dish(es) halfway through baking. Remove from oven when topping is lightly browned and the fruit is tender and bubbling around the edges.
  6. Let cool on a rack for about 15 minutes.
  7. Serve this crisp topped with the purest vanilla ice cream you can find and/or real whipping cream. Sprinkle with reserved toasted nuts and oats.
  8. Enjoy!
Adapted from ATC's Apple Crisp
Adapted from ATC's Apple Crisp
Perkins' Good Earth Farm

The Salad

Let’s talk about the most basic way to eat those leafy greens you’ll find nearly every week in your share: The Salad.

 Fresh greens and root crops make up the bulk of your fall share, and one of the great things about our greens is that they’re almost always harvested the morning of distribution, and if not the morning of, you’re getting them within just a a few days of harvest.  We’re talking serious freshness here, people.  Which makes them perfect for a leafy salad.

If you’re looking for something specific, try these fall salad recipes from the farm blog: Kale Salad with Apples and Figs , Chopped Salad with Asian GreensGreen with Maple Apples and Onions.

But this post is less about giving a specific recipe and more about giving you ideas for how to make a salad of whatever you have in the house, Waste-Free-Kitchen-yet-still-super-tasty-style.

The most basic salad is a simple side salad made up of about an ounce of fresh greens and tossed with your favorite dressing.  (Or, if you’re Farmer Dan, just greens.  For real!)


1/4 oz serving for child / 1 oz serving for adult

We, however, often eat salad as our lunchtime meal, a time when we need more than greens to power through the rest of the day.  In this case, I like to top 2-3 ounces of greens with some combination of the following:

Savory Salad

fresh veggies, chopped or grated (peppers, cucumbers, beets, radishes)

cheese, grated or cubed (cheddar, havarti, pepper jack, mozzarella)

beans (garbanzo, black, kidney, pinto)

meat (usually leftovers from the night before)

hard-boiled egg, chopped

fresh herbs, chopped (thyme, oregano, basil)

tortilla chips, crumbled

dressing (sometimes store-bought; sometimes a quick, homemade-for-one vinaigrette)

Sweet Salad

fresh fruit, chopped or sliced (apples, pears, strawberries, grapes)

cheese (Brie, cheddar, Camembert, blue cheese, gouda)

caramelized onions and garlic

nuts, chopped (pecans, walnuts, almonds)

dressing, like poppyseed or a honey-mustard vinaigrette

Here we go.  I’m going to make a salad here and now out of whatever’s in my fridge, pantry and garden, and show you what I come up with.  Be right back!

This is what I came up with:


A little bit of this, a little bit of that: pepperoni, cucumbers, hard-boiled egg, brick cheese, green onions, olives, red-wine vinegar/avocado oil/garlic vinaigrette

I used salad greens but you can use any type of green for your base–spinach, kale, mustard greens, tat soi, bok choy, beet greens–any kind of green!  Each one will give your salad a slightly different taste and texture–yay for culinary adventures!


Later this week we’ll talk more about vinagraittes, the quick-and-easy salad dressing you can make in less than five minutes and that can truly make or break your salad’s flavor.

What are your favorite salad toppings?

Recipe: Thanksgiving Salad with Apples, Beets, Brie and Candied Pecans

Believe it or not, we’ve arrived at our final week of fall share distribution! Week Seven of sweet spinach and buttery salad greens, candy carrots and sturdy beets, savory green onions and crisp radishes.

BeetsHead Lettuce 1Gardenjust the carrots166daikon in the ground before harvestIMG_1079cropped-200.jpg

As we approach Thanksgiving, I’d like to share how thankful I am for you, our farm members.  I appreciate your willingness to try new foods (like beets and green smoothies!), for your feedback on recipes, for remembering our goats with sweet treats, for chilly-afternoon conversations, for jars of homemade goodies. It’s truly a pleasure to grow for you.

Farm Member MontageI’d also like to leave you with a recipe you can use as part of your Thanksgiving meal.   We make a variation of this salad for pretty much all of our fall/winter get-togethers, be it an annual friend get-together known locally as Friendsgiving,  a church potluck, or the big Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.

This salad packs a punch when it comes to vitamins, fiber, and texture. Let’s dig in and get started with the beets.  (For those of you who still are on the fence about beets, this salad can survive without them!)  We’re going to do the same thing we did in the very first recipe of this series—thinly slice and gently steam the beets.  A few of you have asked about peeling the beets–good question!  I rarely peel mine, but you’re welcome to if you have a texture preference. When the beets are finished steaming, set them aside to cool.

Meanwhile, melt a little butter over medium-high heat in your cast iron skillet or frying pan.  Toss in your pecans, add a little brown sugar, and stir until your pecans are caramelized, about 5 minutes.  Set the pecans on a sheet of wax paper to cool. When you sample one right out of the skillet, try not to burn your mouth (ahem, not that I’ve ever done that before).  If you don’t have time to caramelize your own pecans, you can always substitute a store-bought variety.

Pecans 2

Next, make your dressing.  I made a variation of cider vinaigrette from this Taste of Home salad recipe.  Whisk together apple cider, apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard, and oil with a little salt and pepper.  Set aside.


Slice the brie into 1/2″ pieces and place in a microwaveable dish. I chose the Président brand for its mild taste and smooth texture. You’re welcome to leave on or cut off the rind according to your preference.


The prep is almost done! Chop up the apple of your choice–I prefer Honeycrisp or Gala for something sweet or Granny Smith for tartness. Find a bowl appropriate to the size of your gathering, and fill it with a combination of baby spinach, baby salad greens, and/or torn head lettuce.  (If you’re feeling daring, throw in a little mesclun too!)

Right before serving, gently warm the brie in the microwave so it’s just beginning to melt.  Then place about two-thirds of each salad topping–including the warmed brie–on the greens, and toss everything together. The idea is to make sure the last guest to be served still gets the goodies! Lightly drizzle a few tablespoons of dressing over the salad.  Then sprinkle on the remaining toppings and make your salad sparkle with a little more dressing.

You can feel the satisfaction of serving a delicious and nutritious dish to complement your holiday feast.

Plated 3 (From Top)

A few notes:

1) A lot of the salad prep can be completed ahead of time, like the beets, pecans, and dressing.  You can even chop up the apples the day before—just make sure you toss them with lemon juice to keep them from browning.

2) Pour the remaining dressing into a small pitcher or serving dish and place on the holiday table for those who prefer even more flavor.

3) This salad is ripe for variations.  Don’t like brie?  Use gorgonzola, camembert, or a good cheddar.  Instead of apples or beets, try dates or pears.  Choose toppings that make your mouth water!

Leave a comment and let me know about your experience with the Thanksgiving salad!

Photographs and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

Thanksgiving Salad with Apples, Beets, Brie, and Candied Pecans
Serves 6
A delicious and nutritious holiday salad.
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 8 cups baby spinach, baby salad greens, head lettuce, and/or mesclun (stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces)
  2. 2 medium size beets, sliced and steamed
  3. 1 apple, chopped
  4. 1 cup candied pecans, homemade or storebought
  5. 4 oz brie, sliced into 1/2” pieces
  6. ¾ cup apple cider
  7. 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  8. 2 tsp honey
  9. 1 tsp mustard
  10. ¼ tsp salt
  11. ¼ tsp pepper
  12. ¼ cup canola oil
  1. Place greens into salad bowl.
  2. Gently warm brie slices in the microwave, about 10 seconds or until the brie is just beginning to melt.
  3. Top with two-thirds of the cooled beets, apples, pecans, and warmed brie. Toss toppings into salad.
  4. Pour part of the dressing onto the salad. Toss again.
  5. Top salad with remaining beets, apples, pecans, and brie.
  6. Lightly drizzle a small amount of dressing over the top of the salad.
  7. Serve and enjoy!
  1. A lot of the salad prep can be done ahead of time, like the beets, pecans, and dressing. You can even chop up the apples ahead of time—just make sure you toss them with lemon juice to keep from browning.
  2. Also, consider placing extra dressing on the table for those who prefer more flavor on their salad.
Adapted from Dressing adapted from Taste of Home
Perkins' Good Earth Farm

Recipe: Daikon, Beet, and Carrot Slaw

This week you’ll be receiving a new vegetable in your share:

fresh harvest daikon radish

Meet the daikon radish, the less attractive cousin of the lovely Valentine’s Day radish mix you’ve been receiving for the past few weeks.


Although the daikon doesn’t play a prominent role in American cuisine, it’s quite popular in Asian countries, such as China, Korea, Vietnam, and India, where the daikon is eaten pickled, stir-fried, and raw.  In Japan, daikon radishes are produced more than any other vegetable. 

daikon in the ground before harvest

In the United States, the daikon radish is used more commonly as a cover crop—or a crop used to protect and enrich the soil—than as an eaten commodity.  For instance, on August 1, we planted a cover crop mix of daikon radishes, oats, and Canadian field peas in the garlic area in order to prepare the soil for our October garlic planting. 

garlic field in the fall

As a cover crop, daikons are known for breaking soil compaction layers and scavenging nitrogen.  Truth be told, we (especially Dan) could talk for hours about the amazing abilities of the daikon as a cover crop, but I’m going to save that for another post and move along to helping you figure out how to eat this versatile root crop.

harvested veggies

This week, I combined the radish with two other veggies in your share to make Daikon, Beet, and Carrot Slaw, a delicious complementary side to a sandwich or wrap.

Begin by removing the greens from the daikon, beets, and carrots.  Set these aside for other recipes (beet greens and carrot tops for smoothies, daikon greens for stir-fry).

j veggies

Next, peel and julienne the daikon, beets, and carrots.  To julienne, begin by trimming the ends and sides of the vegetables to make four straight edges. 

j veggies on an angle

Next, cut each of the vegetables into 1/8-1/4 inch matchsticks.  Set aside the peels and scraps to use in soups and stocks (or bring them along for our goats Basil and Jasper next time you visit the farm!).

Combine the julienned daikon, beets, and carrots in a bowl.  Toss the vegetables with a dressing of sesame oil, vegetable oil, red wine vinegar, and sea salt.  Cover the bowl and set aside for at least a half hour before eating.

pork sandwich with beet carrot and radish salad

When ready to eat, garnish with chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds, and pair with your favorite sandwich, such the pulled pork sandwich pictured above, made with pulled pork from DeMotte’s Bub’s BBQ—yum!  You can also serve the slaw on top of—what else?—a bed of greens.

For the printable of this recipe, scroll down.

Photographs and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

Daikon, Beet, and Carrot Slaw
Serves 2
A tasty raw slaw combining daikon radish, beets, and carrots.
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  1. 1 8-inch daikon radish, peeled and julienned
  2. 2 medium-sized red beets, peeled and julienned
  3. 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and julienned
  4. 1 tsp sesame oil
  5. 2 tsp vegetable oil
  6. 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  7. 1 tsp sea salt
  1. Combine the julienned daikon radish, beets, and carrots in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Thoroughly combine the sesame oil, vegetable oil, vinegar, and sea salt.
  3. Toss the dressing with the vegetables.
  4. Cover the bowl and set aside for a least a half hour before serving.
Perkins' Good Earth Farm

Recipe: Beets with their Greens

 Beet Line (resized)

One of the most beloved vegetables in our house is the beet, a root crop veggie that’s become a lunch-time side staple for Harper (age 6), Asher (almost 4!), and me.  Lightly steamed beets sprinkled with sea salt are the perfect combination of sweet and salty.

If you think you don’t like beets, I ask you to please give them another chance.  Beets are incredibly good for you—they contain vitamins A, B, and C, as well as minerals like potassium, magnesium, and phosphorous, and they’re full of phytonutrients.  Beets are also one of only a few plants that contain pigments called betalains, which exhibit strong antioxidant activity–in other words, they can help prevent cancer.  And because they’re high in dietary nitrates, research suggests that consumption of beets can also help lower blood pressure and increase athletic performance.  They’re one of those foods that taste good and actually ARE good for you at the same time.


Beet Harvest with boys (resized)

Since these beauties are already harvested, you get to spend all your time focused on the cooking (and the eating!).

You’re going to start by cutting and setting aside the greens, then thinly slicing and gently steaming the beets.  While the beets are steaming, chop up those greens, then toss them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for your salad base.


Beet Greens (resized)

Once the beets are cooled, toss half the beets with the greens, then place the other half on top of the salad.  Sprinkle the salad with feta, chopped toasted walnuts, and a little more oil and vinegar.


Toppings (resized)

If you’d like, season with salt and pepper.  Enjoy!


Finished Beet Plate (resized)

For the printable recipe, scroll to the bottom of the page.


What to do with the cooking water and leftover greens?

One of the downsides of steaming beets (as opposed to eating them raw) is that you lose some of the nutrients in the water.  Because I want to get as much as I can out of each beet, I use the cooking water for the liquid in my smoothies throughout the week.  I also use the leftover beet greens in my smoothies.

I’ll eventually post more about my experience with green smoothies, but for now, here’s a simple recipe for those of you who are already familiar with this amazing drink.

 Smoothie with Beet Greens

Place beet greens, banana, strawberries, and beet water in blender.  Blend to your desired consistency.  Enjoy!

Photographs and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

Recipe for Beets with their Greens
Serves 4
A delicious salad featuring beets and their greens.
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Total Time
25 min
Total Time
25 min
  1. 6 small beets, with their greens
  2. ¼ cup feta, gorgonzola, or chèvre
  3. Olive oil, 1 T 1 ½ tsp
  4. Balsamic vinegar, 1 T 1 ½ tsp
  5. ¼ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  6. Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Start by boiling a couple inches of water in a medium-sized pot.
  2. Remove greens from the beets and set aside.
  3. Thinly slice beets and place in steamer. If you don’t have a steamer, place the beets directly in the water. Cover and steam for 10-15 minutes, until you can easily insert a fork into the beets (but not so long that the beets are falling apart!). Remove from steamer and cool. Set aside the cooking water.
  4. Meanwhile, wash and dry the greens. Chop the greens until you have about 4 cups. Set aside the extra greens.
  5. Pour 1 T oil and 1 T vinegar into the bottom of a salad bowl. Place the chopped beet greens into the bowl and toss with the vinegar and oil.
  6. When beets are cool, toss half the beets with the greens. Place the other half of the beets on top of the tossed salad.
  7. Sprinkle with feta and walnuts. Drizzle with ½ tsp oil and ½ tsp vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
  1. This recipe includes every part of the beet. If you’d like to eat the beets on their own, simply steam the beets and sprinkle with sea salt.
Adapted from Sarah Oudman's Beet Salad Recipe
Adapted from Sarah Oudman's Beet Salad Recipe
Perkins' Good Earth Farm
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