Let’s talk about … root vegetables
Nutritious, budget-friendly and earthy, root vegetables are synonymous with autumn and winter eating. Let’s dig down and learn more about root vegetables and how you can use them.
What do beetroot, radish, parsnip, swede, carrots, celeriac and turnips have in common? They are all root vegetables. Root vegetables grow underground at the base of a plant. They are called “root vegetables” because the part that you eat is the root of the plant. Because they grow underground, they absorb a lot of nutrients from the soil, making them some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables available. With a high concentration of fibre and slow-burning carbohydrates, root vegetables are excellent for satiety and regulating blood sugar. They are low in calories, fat and sodium and a good source of vitamins including vitamin C. Root vegetables were a staple of our ancestors’ diet, when they grew as wild crops. Later, they became a domesticated crop and a common food staple.
When buying root vegetables, the rule is that the harder they are, the better they are. Look for firm vegetables, avoiding any with soft spots or cracks in the outer layer. Store them in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.
Root vegetables are commonly roasted or mashed but there are other ways to enjoy them. Beetroot with its sweet flavour and vibrant colour is ideal for both sweet and savoury dishes. Try it steamed or left raw and grated to use in salads or cakes. Carrots are undoubtedly one of the most popular root vegetables and they are super-versatile. Try them roasted with honey and herbs, grate them and use in carrot cake or enjoy them raw as a tasty snack. Parsnips with their earthy flavour are wonderful in soup, stews or mash and make a delicious substitute for potatoes when making home-made chips. Turnips have a subtle flavour and slightly peppery taste making them great for stir-fries or combined with more strongly flavoured vegetables.