Truth: root vegetables can be intimidating. Most of them have thick, strange looking skin and long stems with leaves sprouting out of them. Let’s face it, some of them look like they’re from outer space. Some root vegetables are given the cold shoulder because they have the reputation of tasting earthy and even bitter. But hold the phone. This guide to root vegetables can serve as inspiration to embrace the outcast extraterrestrial roots, as they are not only amazing for your health, but they are versatile in the kitchen and absolutely delicious when prepared properly.
Roots are some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables in the world. While each root contains its own set of health benefits, they share many of the same characteristics. Yams, beets, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, yuca, kohlrabi, onions, garlic, celery root (or celeriac), horseradish, daikon, turmeric, jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, radishes, and ginger are all considered roots.
Because root vegetables grow underground, they absorb a great amount of nutrients from the soil. They are packed with a high concentration of antioxidants, Vitamins C, B, A, and iron, helping to cleanse your system. They are also filled with slow-burning carbohydrates and fiber, which make you feel full, and help regulate your blood sugar and digestive system. This factor, plus the high-octane nutrients and low calories, make roots excellent for people who are trying to lose weight, or simply stay healthy.
Take a look at this collection The Lost Book Of Remedies, taken word for word out of a circa 1845 manual.
Arracacha. A bitter root originally from the Andes, halfway between carrots and celery. In South America it’s a very important crop. It looks like a short, chubby carrot. Its flesh is yellow or purple, and once it’s cooked it releases an aroma that recalls a blend of celery, cabbage, and roasted chestnuts. The dark green and purplish-blue leaves resemble parsley.
Botany. While botany distinguishes non-roots from true roots (like tap roots, one for all, such as carrots, and tuberous roots, like sweet potatoes), in agriculture and the culinary arts the same distinctions don’t apply. The category “roots” therefore also include some that technically are not, such as tubers, including the most famous, the potato, corms (tarro or konjac for example), and even rhizomes (turmeric, lotus, etc.) and bulbs (garlic, onion, etc.). In this context, we’ll focus on true roots.
Chicory (Cichorium intybus). You’ll find chicory growing in Europe, North America, and Australia. It’s a bushy plant with small blue, lavender, and white flowers. You can eat the entire plant. Pluck off the young leaves and eat them raw or boil them. The chicory’s roots will become tasty after boiling. And you can pop the flowers in your mouth for a quick snack.
Chickweed (Stellaria media). You’ll find this herb in temperate and arctic zones. The leaves are pretty hefty, and you’ll often find small white flowers on the plant. They usually appear between May and July. You can eat the leaves raw or boiled. They’re high in vitamins and minerals.
Coffee. Root coffee: not only does it exist, but it was a popular surrogate for coffee at the beginning of the last century. “Dandelion coffee” has a passable resemblance to the real thing in both flavour and appearance. Chicory coffee is growing increasingly popular for its detoxifying properties.
Cattail (Typha). Known as cattails or punks in North America and bullrush and reedmace in England, the typha genus of plants is usually found near the edges of freshwater wetlands. Cattails were a staple in the diet of many Native American tribes. Most of a cattail is edible. You can boil or eat raw the rootstock, or rhizomes, of the plant. The rootstock is usually found underground. Make sure to wash off all the mud. The best part of the stem is near the bottom where the plant is mainly white. Either boil or eat the stem raw. Boil the leaves like you would spinach. The corn dog-looking female flower spike can be broken off and eaten like corn on the cob in the early summer when the plant is first developing. It actually has a corn-like taste to it.
Clovers (Trifolium). Lucky you — clovers are actually edible. And they’re found just about everywhere there’s an open grassy area. You can spot them by their distinctive trefoil leaflets. You can eat clovers raw, but they taste better boiled.
Daikon. The “big root”, the Japanese radish, is a truly versatile winter vegetable. The secret to cooking it right? Use water rice was washed in (or to which a little rice bran has been added): it will keep the root white and will even remove its bitterness.
Evora. In this Portuguese city, the root has even become a dessert. It’s the only treat in the world made of scorzonera, also known as “serpent root”, and is part of the Slow Food Foundation’s Ark of Taste.
Fetid. Eryngium (or sea holly) roots were popular in European cuisine in the past. They still appear occasionally, especially those of the species Eryngium campestre and Eryngium foetidum. It has a decisively unpleasant odour, but when used sparingly in soups it can confer a special and characteristic fragrance.
Goatsbeard. Various plants of the Tragopogon genus go by this name. The most important in cooking are Spanish salsify and purple salsify, which can also be sliced into rounds and dried like mushrooms.
Hawknut. It is a tuberose root also known as “earth chestnut”, because the underground “nut” resembles a chestnut in colour, size, and even flavour, and has been associated with the taste of chestnuts, hazelnuts, sweet potatoes and Brazil nuts. Tasty and wholesome, it is very popular among collectors of wild herbs.
Ipomoea. Ipomoea batatas is the scientific name for sweet potatoes, while Ipomoe costata is a plant that’s indigenous to Australia, and is also called “Rock morning glory”. It grows the “bush potato”, still eaten today by the Aborigines who live in the desert.
Jicama. This is a tropical climber cultivated largely for its enormous taproot, which can weigh up to 20 kg and whose white flesh can be eaten raw or cooked. It is crunchy and juicy at the same time, and even rather sweet: it can be compared to an apple.
Kinpira gobō. This is a typical Japanese dish consisting of burdock root and carrots, julienned and cooked in the “kimpira” style. Frequently used when cooking roots, this style is more or less “saute and simmer”, stewing in soy sauce, sake or mirin, sugar, and sesame oil.
Lar: the vegetable, still green, tender and flavourful, is eaten both raw and cooked.Vital. The seventh essential food in the world, and the third most important source of carbohydrates in the tropics: it’s yuca (not to be confused with yucca), also known as cassava or manioc, which when dried and powdered becomes tapioca.Wars of the Roses. Tracing back to the beginning of the War of the Roses, we find this recipe from the The Boke of Nurture, from 1460: “Take skirret, parsnips, and apples, and blanch them. Make a dough with flour and eggs. Blend beer, saffron, and salt, and fry them in oil or fat. Serve with almond milk.”Xmas. In some English–speaking countries, the UK and Canada in particular, it’s a must at Christmas dinner: parsnips, the long white and meaty root. Native to Eurasia, it’s an integral part of the Sunday roast. It’s always eaten cooked, but in truth it’s also excellent raw.
Maca. It’s very much in vogue for its multiple properties, from purifying to restorative, and even, some say, aphrodisiac, since it’s said to improve the production of sperm and sexual performance. The “Ginseng of the Andes” was regularly consumed by imperial Inca warriors, and the part of the plant with these extraordinary powers is, of course, its root.
Native ginger. Hornstedtia scottiana is a large ginger with exquisite inflorescence, meaty pulp, and a pungent odour. It grows in the rain forests of the Molucca islands, New Guinea, Vanautu, and Northern Queensland.
Oaxaca. In this Mexican city, 23 December is the “Night of the Radishes”, where a popular art competition is held as part of Christmas celebrations, in which people sculpt giant radishes – weighing up to 3 kg – into religious figures and other objects.
Parsley. The parsley root looks like a beige carrot, and its flavour is a blend of that and celery. Compared to parsnip, it is more delicate, sweet, and has a grassy scent. It is used in Central and Eastern Europe, and is especially popular with Jewish, Polish, and German cooks.
Quotation. Horseradish root is worth its weight in gold. According to Greek mythology, that’s what the Oracle at Delphi told Apollo.
Rutabaga. Also called swede, from Swedish turnip, this is probably a cross between cabbage and turnip. Beloved in many English-speaking countries and extremely popular in Northern Europe, where it’s prepared in many different ways, including as a purée, it tends instead to be associated with poverty and the two wars in countries like France and Germany.
Salgam. This is “turnip juice”, a beverage prepared in Southern Turkey with the juice of red carrot pickles, salted, spiced, and flavoured with aromatic turnip. It is often served alongside an alcoholic drink and is rumored to be fantastic after a hangover.
Turnip prize. The turnip – the people’s root, noble, praised, mocked, forgotten, rediscovered, always good – has even risen to the level of a top prize. Nailed to a piece of wood, it’s the Turnip Prize, coined to satirize the Tate Gallery’s Turner Prize, and with typical British derision awards terrible works of modern art.
Unripe. This is a trend in how to eat kohlrabi, coming from South American cuisine, and Peruvian in particular: the vegetable, still green, tender and flavourful, is eaten both raw and cooked.
Vital. The seventh essential food in the world, and the third most important source of carbohydrates in the tropics: it’s yuca (not to be confused with yucca), also known as cassava or manioc, which when dried and powdered becomes tapioca.
Wars of the Roses. Tracing back to the beginning of the War of the Roses, we find this recipe from the The Boke of Nurture, from 1460: “Take skirret, parsnips, and apples, and blanch them. Make a dough with flour and eggs. Blend beer, saffron, and salt, and fry them in oil or fat. Serve with almond milk.”
Xmas. In some English–speaking countries, the UK and Canada in particular, it’s a must at Christmas dinner: parsnips, the long white and meaty root. Native to Eurasia, it’s an integral part of the Sunday roast. It’s always eaten cooked, but in truth it’s also excellent raw.
Yam daisy. This is a yellow-petaled daisy that grows in New Zealand. Its root, roasted in a terracotta oven, was a common food among the Aborigines, who loved its sweet juice. Sheep grazing has noticeably reduced the numbers of this perennial plant.
Zuckerwurzel. That’s the German name for skirret, which translates literally as “sweet root”. Its name in English derives from the Middle English “skirwhit”, meaning “white root”. The names reflect two characteristics of this vegetable, which is cooked and eaten like turnip and white salsify.
How Do You Prepare Root Vegetables?
Roots can be prepared every which way. Experiment and discover what your favorite cooking methods and flavor profiles are!
Raw // Because root vegetables are hard and have an earthy flavor, they are most palatable when cooked. For those who prefer leaving their vegetables raw, carrots, beets, radishes, and jicama are good choices for slicing thinly or grating and tossing with dressing and/or other vegetables and fruit.
Steamed/Boiled // Steaming or boiling root vegetables is a great way of prepping them in order to mash or puree them. Mashed celery root or yams make healthful replacements for mashed potatoes, and any root can blended up into a creamy root soup.
Roasted // Roasting any type of vegetable cultivates flavor and texture. Chop up your favorite vegetables, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle them with spices, and roast them in the oven. Balsamic Roasted Root Vegetables are an easy and delicious dish, and they’re a guaranteed way to get the vegetable-averse to eat and enjoy their veggies. You can also thinly slice roots, lay them on a baking sheet, and roast them into root chips.
Sautéed // Making a vegetable sauté or stir fry is a great way of preparing root vegetables. This is a relatively quick and easy cooking method, and all sorts of flavors can be added to the dish. When cooking with other types of vegetables besides roots, sauté the roots first, as they take longer to cook than other vegetables.Grilled // Roots can be peeled, thinly sliced, brushed with oil, and grilled along with other summer vegetables. This adds a smoky flavor into the roots and softens their earthiness.
What is The Lost Book of Remedies? The Lost Book of Remedies PDF contains a series of medicinal and herbal recipes to make home made remedies from medicinal plants and herbs. Chromic diseases and maladies can be overcome by taking the remedies outlined in this book. The writer claims that his grandfather was taught herbalism and healing whilst in active service during world war two and that he has treated many soldiers with his home made cures.
How does it work?
The premise is that many modern day medicines work on the basis that they treat the symptoms and not the cause, but contained within The Lost Book of Remedies are a number of tinctures and tonics made from plants and leaves that will treat the cause of the illness, thus eradicating the disease altogether.
The book is a direct copy of the little notebook carried around by the author’s grandfather when treating his patients. However, the illustrations of the plants have been updated to photographs so that they are easier for you to identify.