I like to practice garden to table as much as I am able.

While your local climate may keep you from popping out to the garden to pick something for dinner in middle of winter, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your garden harvest year round.

It’s the beginning of February here near Chicago, it’s been bitterly cold, and yet….. I can go to the pantry and pluck a couple of jars off the shelf, make a quick vinaigrette, and a simple salad is done.

It may seem that I am boasting, really I am encouraging you to to take food matters into your own hands. It may not be garden to table, but it is garden to shelf to table. It could be garden to cold cellar to table or perhaps garden to freezer (my least favorite as it depends on electricity to keep your food viable) but the point is you grew it. You stored it. And you enjoy it with your family and friends.

I am not naive enough to think everybody wants to grow and store their own vegetables. In fact I’m pretty sure most people don’t or won’t. Do I think more who are able should? Yes I do, but all I can do is try to offer help and encouragement when asked.

Do you want to learn to can and don’t know where to start? I’d start here, at http://www.pickyourown.org/. While it is meant to be a resource to finding local “pick your own” farms in your area, it has an outstanding section on canning and preserving. So if you’re considering starting, now is a good time and that link is a great place to start. I have no ties with pickyourown other than I use the site.

Now then, let me hop off my soap box and head into the kitchen.

Today I’ve chosen canned beets and pickled green beans to make a simple salad. It might be useful to refrigerate the vegetables before prep. As it is these were pretty cool as they are stored in the cellar.

A 1:1 ratio acid to fat keeps this dressing light and bright. Of course you could use your favorite dressing, or none at all. I like using the brine as part of the dressing – it pulls it all together.


Beet and Green Bean Salad

Serves 4

1 jar canned beets (16 oz – 500 ml) drained
1 jar pickled green beans (16 oz – 500 ml) drained, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of brine reserved
1 teaspoon (5 ml) dijon mustard
2 tablespoons (30 ml) Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Green part of scallion sliced thinly on a diagonal for garnish {optional}


  1. In a small bowl whisk together reserved pickling brine from the green beans and mustard
  2. Slowly drizzle olive oil into brine mustard mixture while whisking to make an emulsion
  3. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed, then whisk again
  4. Put beets in a small bowl and add 1 to 2 tablespoon (15 – 30 ml) of dressing, toss gently to coat.
  5. Add green beans and toss gently with coated beets
  6. Transfer beets and green beans to a serving dish
  7. Drizzle more dressing over salad as desired
  8. Garnish with green onion slivers
  9. Add a little kosher salt if you want


Tangy, earthy, crunchy. This is a great bright tasting salad that for the most part, I know where it came from, wasn’t trucked long distances, and made me feel good about making and eating it. How? Because I can!

Until next time, Eat Well & Keep digging!