Salsify remains fairly uncommon in North American
markets and restaurants -- enjoyed by an elite few. It has many attributes
which make a worthy plant to cultivate in your home garden.
A native of central and southern Europe,
is part of the sunflower family. The mature roots look like a sickly
parsnip that is covered in small grassy sprouts. However, the flavor of
the long, pale, creamy white skinned root is much more interesting. Some
people think that it has a flavor akin to
asparagus while others describe it as
a delicate taste of oysters.
If you are looking for a fresh vegetable for your
winter dinner table,
salsify is a hearty root that over winters well. It
is ready to begin lifting in October and can be left in the soil until April.
In colder climates, you may be required to heavily mulch with straw to protect
from freezing. In extremely cold areas, lifting and storing in sand in a
root cellar, like other root crops, will be necessary.
Look for well developed specimens that are heavy
for their sized and as straight (not too gnarled) as possible. They may be
stored, unwashed, in plastic for up to a week in the refrigerator.
Because of its nutritional value,
included as a "Very Special Survival Vegetable" by John A. Freeman in
his 1982 classic, "Survival
General Nutrition Information:
- Fat and cholesterol free.
- Low in sodium.
- High in dietary fiber.
Size 1 cup cooked (135g)
Source: U. S. D. A. Nutrition Database