Black salsify is rarely found on the menu today, but it contains a lot of vitamins and nutrients. The vegetable is particularly interesting for vegetarians because black salsify has a high iron content.
What is salsify?
Black salsify is a classic winter vegetable that is often forgotten and overlooked in the supermarket – and rightly so. The long, thin stalks are visually distinguished by their hard, brownish bark. But beneath the surface is a subtle taste reminiscent of asparagus and nuts. The consistency, on the other hand, is similar to that of carrots.
Once you have stripped them of their rind, black salsify can be used in many ways – whether in a stew, as a side dish, or fried as a snack. Buying the local root is therefore not only worthwhile for the sake of the climate.
Black salsify: season and cultivation
Black salsify belongs to the daisy family. The dark root has its origin in Spain. It was already discovered in the 17th century that it is ideally suited as a vegetable. The black salsify season begins in autumn and ends in spring. The classic growing areas today include France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The season for regional salsify is slightly shorter: in Germany, the vegetable grows from October to January.
It’s in the salsify
The inconspicuous root has it all: the black salsify, which can be up to 30 centimeters long, not only contains potassium, phosphorus, and calcium but also vitamins B, C, and E, magnesium, and folic acid. The bitter substances in the milky juice are also a blessing for the intestines. However, the iron content is unbeatable: 250 grams of steamed salsify contain around 5.5 milligrams of iron. For comparison: women have a daily iron requirement of around 15 milligrams, and men need around 10 milligrams of iron per day.
Nutritional value table black salsify cooked (100 grams):
- Calories: 52
- Protein: 1.3 grams
- Fat: 0.4 grams
- Carbohydrates: 2 grams
Purchase and storage of black salsify
Black salsify can be found at the weekly market and in some supermarkets during the season. Because peeling black salsify is tedious, you should make sure to choose large specimens when buying. You can tell whether the vegetables are fresh by looking at their firm consistency. In addition, the roots should be undamaged, because breaks accelerate drying out. Black salsify can be stored in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator for up to two weeks. The sticks stay particularly fresh if they are wrapped in a clean, slightly damp tea towel. The vegetables can also be frozen if they are peeled and blanched beforehand.
Peel black salsify – that’s how it works
Many people shy away from preparing black salsify because they fear the strenuous peeling and discoloration of their hands. With the right instructions, it can be done in no time at all. To peel, you will need rubber gloves, a vegetable peeler or paring knife, a brush, a bowl, water, and vinegar or lemon juice.
Step 1: Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. As soon as you cut the black salsify, milky juice escapes, which is not only sticky but can also stain your hands.
Step 1: First clean the black salsify under running water using a brush. Remove soil residue from the vegetables.
Step 1: Now peel the roots with a vegetable peeler or a paring knife.
Step 1: So that the peeled black salsifies keep their white color, place them in a bowl with water and a dash of vinegar or lemon juice until further processing. When exposed to air, the peeled roots quickly turn brown.
These dishes are suitable with black salsify
Thanks to its nutty taste, salsify can be used in many ways. As a side dish, they go well with meat or fish. But they also work wonderfully in a stew alongside other root vegetables. Baked in a creamy sauce with cheese, the dark stick is even suitable as a main course. The vegetables can also be used in risotto. Most recipes with asparagus can also be made with black salsify.