Black salsify

Black salsify

  • +Description

    Black salsify is a member of the sunflower family. The black salsify is native to Southern Europe, the Near East. The plant has blade-like leaves and slender stalks which produce distinctive purple flowers. The root is commonly eaten, but the leaves and stalks are also edible. The root looks like a black carrot, but is much smoother and longer. Black salsify has a white interior and is more fibrous and of a finer texture than regular salsify. The root has a slightly oyster-like flavour which gives it the name“oyster plant”.

  • +Availability

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    Black salsify is available from Belgium and Holland.

  • +Main nutrients

    Fiber, Manganese, Potassium, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6 and C.

Main varieties

  • Black salsify

    Black salsify

    The root looks like a black carrot, but is much smoother and longer. Black salsify has a white interior and is more fibrous and of a finer texture than regular salsify.

    View Black salsify

Preparation

Preparation

The skin can be eaten and should be washed before consuming it. However it is advised to scrap off the skin. Wear rubber gloves to avoid discoloration of hands. When peeled, the root darkens immediately. To prevent this place the root into a bowl of water and lemon juice. From here, either consume the root raw or cook it. To cook the root, steaming is preferred over boiling as the root breaks easily.

Consumption

Since cooking seems to bring out the flavor of black salsify, it is not recommended to consume the root raw. However, some do serve it raw as a salad component. Black salsify is often eaten together with other vegetables, such as peas and carrots. But it is also popular in sauces, soups or stews.

When to eat

Black salsify should be firm. Avoid the ones that feel limp or have soft spots. Black salsify can best be kept in the refrigerator and consumed within 2 weeks.

Did you know?

  • Black salsify has many names including: ‘Scorzonera hispanica’, ‘Spanish salsify’, ‘Black oyster plant, ‘Serpent root’, ’Viper's herb ‘, ‘Viper's Grass, ‘Goats beard’ and ‘Scorzonera’.
  • The Latin name of salsify is ‘Solsequium’, which means the flower that followed the course of the sun.