My favorite neighborhood farmer’s market is on Thursdays. This market consists of only two stalls, I think run by two brothers. One of the brothers, Soner, quite a charming guy I must add, brings most of produce from his family farm located in the outskirts of Istanbul.
Every Thursday morning before my classes begin, right when the market is opening up, I visit Soner’s stall. I am usually the first and only one there, and I do my shopping without having to worry about social distancing from other customers; while chitchatting with Soner. Soner owns a small family farm. Every week I inquire about produce specifically from his farm and which are from the wholesalers and try to get farm produce as much as possible. When I get home, I start planning my menus for that week while filling my fridge with my purchases.
This week one of the farm product that caught my eye were the beets with beautiful stems on. I also got a kilo or so of the final batch of heirloom tomatoes, some tiny eggplant, cucumbers and fresh herbs.
Admittingly, I love beets. I can eat them raw, thinly sliced in salads, or juiced and combined with apple juice, ginger and lemon. But my favorite way of consuming beets is the way my “anneanne” (my maternal grandmother) prepared it. She would boil them with some vinegar and lots of garlic and stored in jars for later use. She always had a jar or two in the fridge. It makes for a great addition to any salad or a side dish sprinkled with chopped dill. The cooking liquid is also great to add to dressings or by mixing with yogurt to make pink ayran which looks pretty and tastes delicious.
Anneanne’s Recipe for Braised Beetroots
5 medium size beets,
8-9 cloves of garlic (mine were small, use as many or as little as you want), sliced
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
Clean, peel, and cut the root and stems off the beets. Make sure you are wearing latex gloves when doing this. (If your beets come with beautiful green burgundy leaves, do not throw them away, they can be sauteed with onions for a delicious stir-fry)
Place them in a shallow pot, add garlic slices, vinegar, salt and enough water to just about cover the beets.
Braise over medium heat until the beets are tender. Check with the tip of a knife, if it goes in easy then they are done.
Let them cool in the pan and then place in a jar with the cooking liquid and garlic slices. It will easily keep in the fridge for a month.