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Friday, 4 January 2019

Salsify - 'What's that bundle of old sticks?'

Carol Wilson writes ( makes a case ) for using the neglected winter vegetable, salsify. 

"In my local supermarket I overheard two women peering at something in the vegetable aisle. 'What's that bundle of old sticks?', asked one. Her friend shook her head and they walked on. Curious, I took a look at the object in question. It was salsify!


A popular winter vegetable with the Victorians, it seems to have fallen out of favour completely. Few people know what it is, let alone what to do with it! 

Granted, it doesn't look very appealing, but I bought some (the girl on the checkout asked me what it was too!) to try on friends. Opinion was divided; not everyone liked the taste, which faintly resembles that of oyster. In fact it's sometimes called the vegetable oyster or oyster plant. 

A member of the sunflower family, the root, leaves and purple flowers of the plant can all be eaten. Don't be put off by the appearance. The root is similar to a long thin (very dirty!) parsnip, but underneath, the flesh is pearly white. I think it's very tasty - the flavour is best described as a cross between artichoke and celeriac. 

What to do with it? Well it's easy to prepare and cook. Cut off the root end and peel off the outer skin and coating. Put freshly peeled salsify into a solution of water and lemon juice to stop it browning. It can be cubed and added to soups and stews; I boiled my salsify and mashed it like parsnips, with a little cream, butter, salt and pepper. Some chefs cook the vegetable in a mixture of milk and water for a richer flavour. Don't overcook it though or you could end up with a stringy mush. Salsify can also be roasted with a drizzle of oil and perhaps some chopped herbs and garlic. Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book also has a very good recipe for salsify fritters. 

I think it's a shame that this tasty winter vegetable is so underused. I've never even come across it in restaurants."

If you've tried it, please let us know what you think, and share any ideas for salsify recipes... more in another post soon about the health benefits of this interesting vegetable.

We bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter...

All the best Jan

27 comments:

Jo said...

I had a job for a couple of months in a supermarket in my younger days and learnt a few of the more uncommon fruit and vegetables then, also the different varieties of fruit. You had to know what they were as they were sold separately so you had to weigh them and each variety had a different price. Other than that, I learnt a lot about unusual veggies when I had my allotment and browsed the seed catalogues, not that I tried many of them. It's interesting to hear about the taste of salsify and how to cook it as it's something I haven't eaten myself.

Valerie-Jael said...

I love these roots. They are quite popular here in Germany and are called
Schwarzwurzel (black roots) or 'poor-people's asparagus'. Here they are often served with boiled ham and a creamy sauce. Valerie

Tom said...

...they look like sticks to me!

mxtodis123 said...

Interesting. I have never heard of them.

sage said...

Interesting, I never heard of it and I like root vegetables.

www.thepulpitandthepen.com

Christine said...

Wow never heard of this one!

Iris Flavia said...

I just hope hubby does not read this! ;-)
He loooves oysters and I have to gag!
I´ll have a look out for it, though, cause I am nice and it is a great excuse to have something with truffle in front of the TV!

Iris Flavia said...

Oh, and the Italian Stracciatella Soup was easy and very yummy, too!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Never heard of them, and I have never seen them in the States. Too bad, because I love winter veggies, especially root veggies.

The Happy Whisk said...

Never tried these but I totally would give them a go. Fun to try new things.

Missy George said...

EWWWWW!... Don't know how I got along this long without it. Have a good weekend.

sandy said...

well - this is a totally new vegetable to me. I have never seen one .

Mary Kirkland said...

I hadn't heard of this one so thanks for petting it on my radar.

Miss Val's Creations said...

Oh I am intrigued! I wonder if it is grown over here. It is shows up in a supermarket, I will definitely pick some up to try!

Elephant's Child said...

I have heard of it but never (to my knowledge) seen or eaten it. I will keep my eye out for it. Thank you.

Regine Karpel said...

Love

DIMI said...

Hello Jan!
So interesting! I never heard of them.
Maybe you can find them in the delicatessen shops!
Thank you for sharing! Wishing to you and your family a happy new year 2019!
Enjoy your weekend!
Dimi...

NCmountainwoman said...

Never heard of it and haven't seen it in the stores around here. If it tastes like oysters, I'll pass.

William Kendall said...

That's the first I've heard of them.

Sue (this n that) said...

so interesting to read about salsify!

happyone said...

I've never hear of it!! Don't think I'd like it though if it tastes like oysters.

Lisa Isabella Russo said...

I don't think I've seen those before, but I will keep an eye out for them. Thank you!

Laurel Wood said...

Hi Jan, Never heard of this but how interesting and I bet it would be tasty added to soup or stew. This is Mildred, just started a new blog.

Prunella Pepperpot said...

Ooh, never seen or heard of salsify before and if it tastes of oysters, yuk!! I'm not a sea food fan!!
Have a lovely weekend :)

Snowbird said...

This is new to me, I must look out for it!xxx

Bob Bushell said...

I love Salsify, it has a beautiful taste.

Magic Love Crow said...

So interesting! Thank you Jan! Big Hugs!