A storied vegetable grows anew
Have you ever considered the humble root vegetable’s amazing journey through history? Often relegated to the dark and damp world beneath the soil, these crisp and vibrant treasures have held the attention of kings, queens, warriors, and traders since the earliest pages of recorded civilization. Smithsonian Magazine reported newer research suggesting humans began roasting root vegetables as far back as 170,000 years ago. Even before our distant ancestors learned how to grow these beauties, they foraged for wild carrots and beets. Gardening histories mention root crops in early Mediterranean Europe, Asia, Africa, and South American civilizations. The varied flavors of root vegetables include earthy beets/parsnips/celeriac (celery root), bitter radishes and turnips, sweet carrots, and mild potatoes. What once nourished the ancient past now emerges with newfound vitality! Root vegetables are reclaiming their place in holiday feasts and they gain presence in surprising domains. Their journey reaches from innovative snacks to potent powdered supplements, cosmetics, and fragrances. Read on to learn more!
Store, prep, and savor for the holidays
Root vegetables offer an abundant source of fresh produce during winter due to long storage times and because they stay sweet and delicious also after deep frosts. Their starchy heft tastes hearty enough to build a meal around or create a light and fresh snack. Many are used to eating carrots and radishes raw, and many other roots like beets, celeriac, and turnips taste also delicious raw when in season. More mature veggies can last quite a while in the crisper drawer of your fridge. The roots and leafy greens provide excellent sources of vitamins. We suggest you separate the leaves from the greens (which you can store in a bag in the fridge). Also, you should store potatoes somewhere cool and dark so they last up to a few months. To peel or not to peel? Root vegetable peels generally contain a lot of good-for-you fiber and can add texture and flavor to dishes. Speaking of, consider a savory root vegetable and citrus soup garnished with fresh croutons.
As fried pancakes became a widespread Hanukkah food, potatoes were spreading as an affordable ingredient option throughout Europe. Interestingly, they often consisted of South American potatoes. This recipe for root vegetable latkes goes one step further, elevating traditional potato latkes with sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, turnips, and celery root. A healthy and impressive side dish, as well as a gluten-free option, they offer an excellent addition to any Hanukkah meal. Another snack option to serve guests comes from a new take on ancient roasted root vegetables, Homemade Root Vegetable Chips (aka Terra© chips), which are super simple to prepare. They also keep for a few days when kept in a storage bag!
Easy and surprising ways to enjoy
Celery has been having a moment, with celebrities and influencers touting many health benefits. In a better-for-you update, organic celeriac (again, the celery roots) gets blended with parsnips and rutabaga in Dr. Cowan’s Garden ® Root Medley Powder, quickly mixed into drinks/dishes for a nutritional boost. You can also use beetroot, lately on the rise, in a powder format or include it for sweetness in recipes such as No Added Sugar Chocolate Beetroot Cake, a holiday dessert alternative. Speaking of additional options, with supply chain issues, climate change, and the rising cost of ingredients, modest root vegetables are trending choices for cosmetics and fragrances. If you would rather wear your vegetables than eat or drink them, luxury perfumer The Officine has created a collection, Les Jardins Français or “the French Gardens.” The Eau Triple Iraqi Beetroot and Egyptian Rhubarb or Caribbean Sweet Potato and Afghan Carrot scents offer water-based fragrances that “wraps the skin like velvet without being overbearing” (also available in soap or oil for layering). Wrap your skin or wrap them up for gourmet gifting.
With humble root vegetables offering plenty of life-improving benefits, let us know how you plan to incorporate them into your holidays and New Year’s resolutions!