Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The other root veggies, 2010 *originally written fall of 2010*

Things like Burdock, parsnips, salsify, sweet potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes....

Well, for the most part its too early for most of these.  I did dig up the sweet potatoes out of curiosity, but we haven't tried eating any of them. They are kind of 'fingerling' size if you can call it that.

I pulled op a Jeruslaem artichoke stalk the other day and there were a couple medium sized roots attached,  it looked like Stampede.  The flowers on these plants are really quite nice. It was rumored that they may have a chocolatey scent, but i can't detect that at all when i tried. They are quite striking though, on stalks almost 10' high at the back of the garden.
I did taste the roots, they were crisp, somewhat like a water chestnut- as they are often compared to,  with the same earthy flavor of a raw potato.  I only ate the one root that was about radish sized.... actually i think the texture is more like a radish than a water chestnut now that i think of it. Maybe as the inulin changes over they get the water chestnut texture more.  But it had a crisp and bright flavor, and the skin was not thick at all, i wiped off and ate it whole within seconds of being pulled.

I yanked a salsify the other day, just to see what was up and i think there may be a problem. It had multiple thin roots instead of a single, thick taproot.  This might be because they were transplanted as seedlings. They may not be right for that method.  I didn't try eating it because the pencil-thick roots looked more stringy than tender.  I have read that they can be edible in the second year or allowed to go to seed....  i might let them go to seed and collect it and try again in 2012. The seed source for these has dried up and i don't know that i would consider these roots a priority for planting since they aren't expected to produce much.  The plants didn't get very big at any rate,  they weren't as interesting to look at as i had hoped.  There  isn't a whole lot of information out there for these plants, so troubleshooting best growing conditions might be harder to find. I might try again.

The Burdock i did pull one, but it wasn't big yet either.  I'll wait a bit longer before i check again.  Of course i did test-pull the smallest leafed plant in the group.

The leaves on the parsnip roots are filling out again. They had been nibbled by the last woodchuck and i guess parsnips don't like growing fast in warmer weather because they have grown more noticeably since it got cooler.  I won't even try a test-pull until well after first frost.

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