The root of goodness
Carrots, parsnips, turnips, swedes are some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables we can enjoy. Growing underground, they absorb a high number of nutrients from the soil including antioxidants, vitamins A, B and C and iron. They also contain slow-burning carbs that help control blood sugar levels.
Winter is the season when root vegetables are plentiful with the exception perhaps of beetroot. It’s a time for roasts and bakes, soups and warm salads. In other words, comfort food.
Technically, these vegetables are the fleshy enlarged root of a plant. Although the potato may be thought of as a root vegetable it’s actually the swollen underground stem or tuber we eat. Likewise, kumara grow on a creeping vine.
Carrots have been a staple vegetable for thousands of years yet they only turned orange in the 1800s. Originally they were thought to have been purple and growers changed the colours as fashion dictated from white to beige to red. Recently, a range of different coloured carrots has been produced in New Zealand adding extra appeal to carrot enjoyment.
White turnips also have a long history dating back to Roman times. Turnips have a delicate peppery flavour and are best eaten when young and tender. Older turnips have a very strong flavour. The purple and beige skinned swede belongs to the same family as turnips. Again swedes are best enjoyed young. They are known as rutabaga in many other countries
Store root vegetables in an open plastic bag in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator.
Parsnips belong to the carrot family and have been grown in Europe since Roman times. This dish makes an excellent light brunch.
Ginger is a root vegetable grown in tropical climates.
Use young washed turnips for this raw salad served with goat’s cheese and herbs.
4 fat cloves garlic
250g soft goat’s cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
250g small white turnips, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Finely grated rind 1 lime
1 tablespoon each: toasted sesame seeds, thyme leaves, chopped
Coriander or mint leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
- Place the garlic in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Peel then mash and combine with the goat’s cheese and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season.
- Toss the turnips in the vinegar and remaining oil then season with salt and pepper.
- Place the goat’s cheese mixture on four serving plates. Top with the turnips then garnish with the lime rind, sesame seeds, thyme and coriander or mint then drizzle with a little olive oil. Serves 4