Hearty root veggies such as carrots, rutabagas, beets, and
parsnips are especially good during the colder months when we tend
crave food that is more substantial. Root vegetables are packed
with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. In general, they
are low in calories and virtually no fat. The deeper the root
vegetable's colour, the more antioxidants it contains. Carrots are
well known for their beta carotene (which forms vitamin A); beets
are known to deliver phytochemicals that are good for liver health
and purple potatoes are loaded with anthocyanins, pigments that act
Beets are sweet tasting and have a highest sugar content of any
vegetable. Usually beets are deep red, but less common varieties
yellow, pink-striped or white flesh are available. Young beet
greens are tasty in salads or stir-fries.
Carrots are sweet treats loaded with nutrients. One 8 oz. glass
of carrot juice contains about 20,000 mg (45,000 IU) of vitamin A.
Besides the recognizable orange types, there are yellow and purple
Parsnips look like cream coloured carrots, and though they are
sweet, they have a spicy element. Unlike carrots, parsnips contain
no beta-carotene but they are a good source of vitamin C and
folate. Parsnips add a complex flavour to stews, soups and mashed
potatoes. Parsnips can be substituted for carrots in carrot cake
for an interesting change.
Few vegetables are as nutritious and versatile as the potato.
Not only does a potato give you an excellent supply of
carbohydrates, but it also provides important vitamins and
minerals, including potassium, niacin, vitamins B6 and C, and
manganese. For optimum fibre, eat potatoes with the skin on. Avoid
potatoes with a green tinge. They are high in the alkaloid
solanine, which can be toxic if eaten in large quantities.
The rutabaga is member of the cabbage family and resembles a
large turnip. They contain good amounts of Vitamins A and excellent
amounts of vitamin C. Typically 7.5 to 12.5 cm (3 to 5 inches) in
diameter, rutabagas have a thin, pale yellow skin and a slightly
sweet, firm light orange flesh.
Buying and Storing
All root vegetables are good keepers. Store them in a cool,
dark, dry place around 0 to 4 Â° C (32 to 38 °F). If vegetables
start to grow, the temperature is too high. If vegetables start to
shrivel, the air around them is too dry.
Root vegetables are available year round. Locally they are at
their best from October to March.
Wash root vegetables well with a vegetable brush to remove
Easy ways to prepare root veggies:
* Try a mashing a variety of root veggies together.
* Puree root vegetables to thicken soups and stews.
* Eat them raw as finger food with a dip.
Try it today:
*Roasted Root Vegetables
*Pot Roast with Root
*Roasted Duck Breast Over Root Vegetables,
Ragout Apple Cider and Calvados Sauce