Salsify – Goodness From The Earth

Black salsify is a perennial, hardy plant. Their leaves reach a height of 60 to 125 centimeters. Only the cylindrical taproot of the black salsify is commercially available, although petioles, buds, and flowers could also be used in salads. The black salsify reaches a length of 30 to 50 centimeters with a diameter of two to four centimeters. Inside, the black salsify is fleshy, white, and rich in nutrients. Black salsify is popularly known as the “little man’s asparagus”.


Black salsify comes from the Iberian Peninsula, from where it came to Central Europe in the 17th century. Nowadays there are important productions in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. In Germany, too, production takes place on a smaller scale, mainly in Bavaria.


Black salsify is available from the beginning of September to the end of March. From domestic outdoor cultivation from October to January.


Black salsify is similar to asparagus in taste and appearance and has a sweet and nutty aroma. Incidentally, this also applies to another root vegetable: Jerusalem artichoke. You can use this as an alternative to potatoes. A delicious Jerusalem artichoke recipe, for example, is Röstis.


The black salsify is first thoroughly cleaned with water and a vegetable brush. Tip: Wear gloves as the salsify juice will leave your fingers sticky and dirty. Then you peel them with the vegetable peeler. Before peeling, it is best to prepare a bowl of water in which you mix a little vinegar and flour. The juice of the black salsify oxidizes quickly and quickly makes the pulp appear dark. To avoid this, immediately place the peeled sticks in the prepared bowl of water. Then cook the black salsify in salted water with a dash of lemon juice and a little butter for about 20 minutes. In addition to the classic as an accompaniment to pan-fried dishes with a “Hollandaise sauce”, the white sticks are also ideal for a crisp salad, an aromatic black salsify soup, and a hearty gratin. Black salsify also tastes good with ham and is then reminiscent of the classic asparagus recipe.


Black salsify can be stored in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for a good 1 week. Blanched black salsify can be frozen for about 12 months. You can easily store them in a box of sand in a cool, dry place for months.

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