- RECIPES BY COURSE
- RECIPES BY DIET
- RECIPES BY SEASON
Around the world, there are more than 50 root vegetables. Familiar in our neck of the woods are ones like; beets, potatoes, onions, rutabaga, celeriac, turnips, carrots, yams, and ginger, just to name a few. Root vegetables are generally storage organs for plants, enlarged to store energy in the form of carbohydrates. There is such a wide variety, and so many ways to prepare them, that even during the long winter you’ll never tire of the different textures, colors and flavors.
Healthy soil is the key to healthy produce, so root vegetables grown in rich soil are full of nutrients and are an excellent source of fiber. Shopping at winter farmers markets helps to ensure you are getting the most nutrition out of your roots. Many are high in vitamin C, B vitamins, and vitamin A, and contain beneficial antioxidants.
Purchasing and Storing
Choose firm, not soft, root vegetables. They should be blemish and bruise free. Keep root vegetables in a dark, cool space. (I often keep mine in a lined basked in the garage in these cooler months.) The great thing about root vegetables is that they will keep for a couple of weeks. A refrigerator is not necessarily the best place to store as they go soft sooner. Wrap in paper or plastic and keep them in the crisper if you store them in the fridge.
If you’re buying root veggies with greens attached, like beets or kohlrabi, don’t discard; The greens are full of goodness! Trim, wash, cut and dry – even the stems. Store in the fridge for several days, then sauté with garlic and olive oil for a simple yet delicious side dish.
You’d be surprised that one the best ways to eat many root vegetables is to enjoy them raw. Shredding, dicing and slicing these tasty veggies means you can sprinkle them on salads, add them to wraps, use them in place of chips with dips and hummus.
Roasting, a cooking technique that brings out the sweetness and concentrates flavors, is a popular way to enjoy root vegetables, like turnips, sweet potatoes, and beets. Peel and uniformly cut vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and your favorite dried herbs, like thyme or rosemary. Roast at 400F on a baking tray for roughly 30-45 minutes (depending on which ones you’re using) and enjoy.
And we can’t forget about soothing soups this time of year; root vegetables seem to be made for soup season. Begin your soup by sautéing onions, garlic and your favorite savory spices, then add cubed root vegetables like celeriac, carrots and potatoes. Add vegetable broth, bring to a simmer and when the vegetables are soft, puree in a blender. Season and enjoy!