Roasted Beets

Not only are beets a sweet treat but they also provide multiple health benefits and make a great addition to your well-balanced diet. Did you know that beets lower blood pressure, aid weight loss and work as an energy and brain booster? So why not fill your plate with these sweet little health boosters.

We’re sharing our roasting recipe as this is our favorite way to prepare both red and golden beets.


When you are shopping for your beets at your local farmers market or produce store, look for beets that still have their leafy greens. The greens are a great indicator of freshness. Vibrant and crisp stems without any rot is a sign of a fresh beet. Avoid wilted stems with any signs of rot. When the greens are cut from the beet root prior to your purchase, the beets will actually bleed moisture resulting in loss of flavor and poor texture. So avoid buying beets without stems.

It’s best to take advantage of beets during the seasons which cool weather prevails, such as spring and fall.

Preparing the beets:

Twist off or cut the greens from the beet near the base. If the greens are young and fresh reserve for another recipe such as wilting or sautéing. We give ours to our tortoise, who enjoys this tasty treat!

Preheat oven to 350. Rinse beets to remove any dirt. Peel and rough chop an onion or shallots. Smash and discard the skin of the garlic. Thin slice the orange. Toss all ingredients except water into a large bowl with beets. Toss to coat and then lay into baking dish.  Add water.  

Make sure there aren’t any stems or roots sticking out over the edge of the pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap making sure you get a tight seal. Then cover with aluminum foil. What actually cooks the beets is the steam caught within the pan. This is why you want to get a good tight seal so that the steam doesn’t escape.

For beets 1-2 inches bake 30-45 minutes and for beets 2-3 inches bake for an hour.

After the beets have baked, be very careful opening the corner as the steam escapes. Let cool for about 20 minutes. It’s easiest to peel when warm. Use a paper towel to rub the skin and remove.  Set beets aside to cool and enjoy!

Add to a salad, serve sliced, add to pasta or side dish…the options are limitless.


Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs beets (tops removed,washed)
  • 2 shallots or 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 small orange or tangerine
  • 1/4 c vinegar if your choice i.e. white, red, apple, honey (avoid dark vinegar)
  • 1/4 c EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • Liberal amounts of S&P to taste
  • 1/2 c water

Cheers and enjoy!

~Melissa & Greg

Can You Spot the Queen’s Egg?

The queen bee must lay 1,500-2,000 eggs a day to keep the hive’s population growing. The video below shows the queen walking on the honey comb to find an empty cell to lay an egg into. You can see her sticking her head into the cells, she does this not only to check and see if there is already an egg in it but also to determine what size the cell is. Once she determines the cell is empty, she will then put her head in further to gauge the size of the cell in order to determine whether the cell is made for males or females.

The female (worker bees) cell is smaller than the large male (drone) cells. The ratio of males to females is regulated by the worker bees when building the comb. The mass majority of the cells are made for females with the male cells are found towards the bottom, outer-edges of the comb. Usually males comprise less than 10% of the population, each hive differs and can be as low as 1%.

The queen then sinks her abdomen into the cell and deposits the egg which has a sticky end that keeps the egg upright. In three days the egg will hatch and this will be the larvae stage, in the picture you can see the fresh laid egg in the center of the honey comb cell.

#savethebees

Bee Eggs Just in Time for Easter

So what’s happening in the hive lately?  The queens have been busy and their eggs are prepped and ready to hatch in just three days! Check out these intimate pics within the honey comb…

With spring well on it’s way, the hives are keeping pretty busy. As you can see below the queen has mated and started to lay her eggs. Notice the faint white markings, those are each an individual bee waiting to hatch. The queen will need to lay 1500-2000 eggs a day to increase the population of the hive, crazy fact: that is equal to her body weight!  Talk about a full-time job!
On the first day the queen’s eggs have been laid, they stand vertical. By the second day, they start to lean over and by the third day this is when the egg is completely horizontal and it will hatch to become new larvae.

The bright yellow and glossy/shiny bundles consist of pollen that the bees have collected on their daily foraging to feed the eggs. Each cell is saved for an individual pollen source. For example, on a daily basis bees will collect pollen or “food” from several sources like kale, broccoli, pine trees, and lavender. When they bring the “food” back to the hive, they will deposit the pollen in the respective cells, never cross-depositing. Isn’t that fascinating? What crazy little creatures. #savethebees

Spring Queening

With spring quickly approaching, it’s the most busiest time for bees and their beekeepers. The hives activity has been very “buzy” in the last few weeks as they work tirelessly to build their population in order to take advantage of the upcoming abundance of spring blooms.

Below you can see a queen cell that is being reared in a hive that is preparing to swarm. But why are they swarming you ask? Swarming is ultimate success of a hive. The bees have worked hard the past year in order to position themselves to create a new hive. The old queen lays new queen cells as she and the older bees leave to make a new hive, leaving behind a new queen and younger bees to continue operating the existing hive.

Did you know…that when bees are swarming, they are at their most docile stage. Don’t be afraid, they aren’t seeking to hurt or harm you. Should a swarm locate near your home, leave it undisturbed, they will soon leave but if they are a nuisance, pull up Google and search “bee keeping society” in your area. They offer humane, ethical removal services for these protected creatures.

The picture below showcases nectar collection. The nectar will fuel the bees for the spring season as they will need energy to feed on the bountiful spring blooms. The honey that has built up over the season will be collected at the end of the summer season.