A Provincial Specialist Association of the BC Teachers' Federation 

"To enlighten all interested persons in the connections between the Culinary Arts Programs in the secondary schools of British Columbia and the K-12 Educational Plan”






CHEF LESNES BRAIN TEASER #45

What the heck I am! 

I may look like an ugly brown stick, but don’t judge me on its outer appearance. I feel like I am the forgotten vegetable, I have been neglected by many Chefs and I rarely make my way to the kitchen. I have a long history and I will spare you many details of my journey.   

Although my young leaves can be eaten in fresh salads, I am a member of the daisy family and primarily used as a root vegetable, similar in shape to a carrot or a parsnip. Not particularly popular in North America, I have been known in Southern Europe for over two thousand years. I was not cultivated until the 17th century and today Belgium is one of the leading producers of me. 

My skin can be either black or brown, but my flesh is always cream-coloured. I am primarily a cold weather crop as my taste gets sweeter after the ground has been covered with frost. My seed ball opens up every morning, works until noon, then closes up for the day. Great work if you can get it. Strangely enough my flavour has been compared to that of oysters, which is only true if you consume me while eating oysters. 

I think I have a mild flavour, which can be compared to a cross between globe artichokes and asparagus. In either colour, you must peel me before eating and my flesh will turn black fast when exposed to fresh air. To avoid this you can soak me in vinegar or lemon water, or boil me for 15 minutes before peeling. Do not overcook me or I will get all mushy on you. 

Cold I am great shaved into salads. I blend particularly well with potatoes, leeks, and spinach. I can be glazed like carrots, used in soups or stews, baked au gratin, braised with veal, or topped with a béchamel or cheese sauce.

I am a good source of potassium as well as providing vitamins B6 and C. I also contain inulin, a carbohydrate starch replacement that does not effect the level of blood sugar.


WHAT AM I? SALSIFY


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