Thursday, 19 February 2015

Back to my Roots - Scorzonera

Just now the fare from the allotment is not too exciting, The brassicas are down to cabbage and kale with just the prospect of purple sprouting brocolli still to come.  Now the carrots are finished and there are only a couple of pounds of potatoes left in storage its parsnip and jerusalem artechoke time. But this year for novelty value I've also grown....  (drum roll) ....Scorzonera!!
 
 


 
The hardest part of growing these is harvesting these without snapping them. They readily grow to 12 inches or more. Also, as warned about in books, once you peel them they ooze a latex like substance. So you want to peel them and cook them very soon after, or otherwise keep them in acidulated water (add some lemon juice or vinegar) .  Internet research indicates that the great chef Escoffier had a way of cooking these "en blanc" - in a white sauce with shallots, but not being a great sauce fan I just chopped them up and boiled them like potatoes so as to reveal their essentilal characteristics. 
 
 I would describe their flavour (and texture) as being like a cross between potato and carrot.  This was a surprise as years ago I grew sister plant salsify and that was much sweeter - like sweetcorn -  and quickly broke down into a mush. Scorzonera is much better at retaining its structure.  For a mid winter novelty I would say they are well worth the effort. Flavour wise - don't get too excited.
 
 
 

8 comments:

  1. Bravo! You don't see many amateur gardeners growing this. I have had Salsify once and it was "OK", but rather unexciting. I have read that you can peel Scorzonera after cooking too. That might be worth a try.

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    1. To late for this year, its all been eaten - maybe next year!

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  2. Isn't this a perennial? We did grow some once but the roots didn't develop large enough to use, Ours grew yellow daisy like flowers too that looked like weeds.

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    1. I have read that they get bigger in the second year - but that would play havoc with my rotation - aside from the fact that we've eaten them all.

      Yes they are members of the daisy family!

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  3. I grew some a few years ago, they grew exceptionally well on "new" ground. Massive roots and after snapping a few off when they were lifted, it took me a couple of seasons to eradicate them, even from the sub-soil, they just kept coming back. As you say not an exceptional taste but a good late season filler.

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    1. So, just like daisies in your lawn!

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  4. Not one I have every heard of Mal and I don't think it is one I will try to grow. I am amazed you managed to dig down deep enough to get them out this time of year!!

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  5. We are spoilt with the soil at our site!

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