Lisa

Contributor

The best way to shop? With the seasons. So, every 2 weeks at Kitchen Stories, we’ll be highlighting a different in-season ingredient along with 3 new recipes. To market, we go!

I have to admit, the earthy salsify roots don't look particularly appetizing at first glance. But appearances are deceptive: the vegetable, known as the "asparagus of winter" has a completely different appearance—once peeled you’ll find a translucent white vegetable, not dissimilar to white asparagus in appearance, and with a milder, nuttier version of its taste. It even has a coconutty taste when raw, making it an interesting addition to salads or other fresh dishes.

1. Hello, my name is black salsify

Black salsify is one of the most nutrient-rich of vegetables. Particularly noteworthy is their high content of inulin, a soluble fiber that makes black salsify an interesting light diet for diabetics.

Like most vegetable, salsify is low in calories but extremely high in regular fiber which leaves you feeling full and satisfied for longer.

2. When to buy black salsify

As a classic winter vegetable, you can buy the garden black salsify from a grocer or supermarket from October to April, depending on where it’s grown.

Since black salsify have to be peeled relatively generously, always look for thicker stalks. They should be undamaged as otherwise they will dry out quickly and become hard.

3. How to store black salsifies

Like many classic winter vegetables, black salsifies are relatively easy to store. If you want to store them longer, it’s best kept unwashed, in a dark place like a cupboard or in the cellar. Otherwise, you can also blanch and freeze the vegetable.

4. How to prepare black salsifies properly

Unlike carrots or potatoes, you can still see very clearly that the black salsify grows underground. After harvesting, they are usually still covered by a thick layer of soil. Before peeling, use a vegetable brush to scrub off the soil under running tap water.

It's best to use kitchen gloves, because salsify releases a sticky resin than skin and clothing. It oxidises within a few seconds with the oxygen in the air and turns the skin brown. It’s difficult to brush these stains off your hands and remove from clothing—so don’t skip this step.

Once you have rinsed off the soil, you’ll need to peel off the skin. The best way to peel black salsify is to use kitchen gloves and an ordinary peeler. It´s best to place the peeled sticks immediately in a mixture water and vinegar or lemon to soak, otherwise the oxidation will quickly turn the sticks brown.

Though there is a bit of prep needed, the reward is an extremely versatile vegetable. You can sauté, boil, or deep fry black salsify. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the pieces, but on average you need about 20 minutes to cook them through.

Fresh black salsify can even be prepared raw—grated them, and add a little lemon juice and mayonnaise and they are delicious. To make the popular black salsify salad, on the other hand, it's best to use jarred black salsify.

5. What to cook with black salsify

We'll be releasing new black salsify recipes all week, so keep checking back! Here’s where to start:

Black salsify soup

Black salsify soup

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Black salsify and goat cheese tart with pear chutney

Black salsify and goat cheese tart with pear chutney

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Black salsify fries with hazelnut gremolata

Black salsify fries with hazelnut gremolata

→ Go to recipe

How do you like to prepare black salsifies? Tell us in the comments and upload a photo of your creations.

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