Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Winter Harvest on the Allotment - Black Salsify

Allotment Crops - Black Salsify
Allotment Crops - Black Salsify

I grew a new and slightly unusual crop last year - Black Salsify.

In Spring my wife Jo visited a friend in France and bought some seeds for me at the local market. From the photo on the packet she thought that they were purple french beans.

When we Googled "Scorsonère" we discovered that it is a root vegetable - also known as Black Salsify, Spanish Salsify or Scorzonera. Similar to, but not the same plant as "normal" Salsify.

Allotment Crops - Black Salsify
Fairly easy to grow, kind of similar to parsnip but with an unusual subtle taste. Sown in Spring, harvested in late Autumn. Hardy and can be grown on and harvested through Winter, with a deep root that can go down up to 12 inches.

I love growing something new - so enjoyed sowing the seeds in April, in two rows next to my carrots and leeks.

Allotment Crops - Black Salsify
The seeds all germinated and grew on really well through Spring and Summer.

They grew better than my carrots and didn't seem to suffer from any pests or diseases.

I harvested some in October and November - and have now taken the last of the crop.

Allotment Crops - Black Salsify
One thing that I realised is that they really do grow deep and are really hard to dig out.

I needed the spade to loosen the soil all round, then used the trowel to excavate further.

I don't think I succeeded getting many out fully intact. But a nice harvest nonetheless.

Allotment Crops - Black Salsify
The skins are black - hence the name - thick an inedible. So prepare for eating by peeling. Keep in water if not used right away as they may oxidise and go brown like potatoes.

We've eaten some plain - parboiled for 20 minutes then lightly fried in butter.

Next I'll try some sauteed with garlic and maybe onion.

Allotment Growing - Sweetcorn

Visit my website - Allotment Growing
- for lots more information, growing tips and photos:
Allotment Growing

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Winter On The Allotment - February

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