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  • Scorzonera

    I used to have little success with these until a somebody in a gardening programme years ago, if might have been the late Geoff Hamilton (guru!), mentioned that these can be left in the ground for more than one year. We are so used to the fact that root veg gets woody and unusable once they are flowering that it seems strange that these do not fall into that category. In fact they get much fatter the second year. If you garden on clay soil, you will never be able to dig out all of the the long roots, but a broken off fat root is still a lot of food value.

    I leave them in the ground for a second year. And they flower with pretty yellow blooms. The flowers rival doronicum (leopard's bane), some are even double. Reason enough to grow them just for that, but there is the benefit of a delightful winter vegetable too. The flowers grow into seeds (a little like dandelions) and can be planted again. There is some self seeding going on too, also some regrowth from partial roots left in the soil. With a little management, it is a permanent bed, at least for a few years until the soil could benefit from rotation.

    By the way, we never peel them, just wash and boil until almost tender, then into a bowl of cold water and rub the black skin off. A little trimming with a vegetable knife finishes the job. Then I cut the roots into slices and add to whatever sauce is going. Cheese sauce is very yummy, but they go just as well into tomato sauce for pasta or into a stew. Their flavour is perhaps very slightly earthy, not strong or overpowering.

    Just want to mention that White Scorzonera, aka Salsify, is a very different vegetable and does get woody like carrots and parsnip.

  • #2
    Have you tried eating the flowers? They smell delicious and my rabbit loved them, but I always felt too mean to eat them myself since the insects like them so much.

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    • #3
      Ahh, that is so useful, I've found them a little disappointing in return, will have a go with your method. I've just set aside a little more garden for veggies next year and will ear mark a spot. I remember first coming across them at college, along with salsify, very tasty. Yes do you eat the flowers too, I haven't, just wondering how they taste?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Silverleaf View Post
        Have you tried eating the flowers? They smell delicious and my rabbit loved them, but I always felt too mean to eat them myself since the insects like them so much.
        No I haven't, but remember reading a suggestion to batter and fry the unopened flower buds for a real delicacy! Can't remember who to credit with that recipe at the moment though.

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        • #5
          Oooh, that sounds like they could be delish. The flowers are so pretty though, it would seem almost a shame.

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