Leaves are turning red and orange. The air is crisp and cool. Our Harvest Home Farmers’ Markets are bursting with root veggies: beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes. Some of them may look strange but they are all low in calories with a sweet, slightly earthy taste. They’re versatile and easy to cook, PLUS they’re packed with vitamins A&C, potassium, manganese & magnesium, iron and fiber to help regulate blood sugar, produce energy, fight diabetes and keep your bones strong. That’s why we are rooting for roots!
If you aren’t familiar with root veggies, here are some tricks:
How to choose: The harder the shell, the better the root veggie. If there are greens attached, like with beets, the leaves and stems should be firm.
Storage : Don’t wash until you’re ready to use them. Remove any green leaves and store separately.
● Beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips: Store in the fridge in a paper or plastic bag to keep out moisture. Beets last up to 10 days; parsnips for 2 weeks; carrots, 3-4 weeks; turnips, several months.
● Sweet potatoes: In a cool, dry place, they’ll last up to 6 months
Cooking: Steam or roast?
● Roasting brings out the most flavor. Peel & cut into inch pieces. Place on a baking sheet with about a tablespoon of oil, salt & pepper and mix.. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn; cook for another 20 minutes until tender. (See below)
● Steaming: If you plan on mashing up parsnips, turnips or sweet potatoes, peel, cut into chunks and steam until fork-tender.
Seasoning: Salt and pepper may be enough; check tips for more ideas!
Discover roots and you’ll may soon be shouting: HOORAY!
RECIPE: Roasted Root Veggies
Roasted veggies are delicious with just salt, pepper and olive oil. Make different dishes by adding herbs while cooking or a dressing before you serve them. (See below) Toss them with salad greens. Even eat them as a snack!
•2 beets, peeled
•3 carrots, peeled
•2 parsnips, peeled
•1 sweet potato, peeled
•1 yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
•1/4 cup olive oil
•Salt and freshly ground black pepper
•Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut veggies into 2 inch pieces
•Place the beets on a quarter of the baking sheet. Place the other veggies on the other side of the beets (to keep the beets from staining the other vegetables).
•Drizzle the vegetables with oil; season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat; Roast until tender, about 35 minutes, turning halfway through.
More Seasoning Choices:
•Marinate: Mix together 1 Tablespoon each of Olive Oil & Dijon mustard, 2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon of basil & ½ teaspoon each of salt & pepper. Pour of veggies and let sit for 30 minutes. Roast as usual
•Just before you serve: Whisk the juice and zest of 1 orange with 1 tablespoon chopped fresh fall herbs, such as rosemary, sage or thyme. Pour over plain roasted veggies
MIX ROASTED VEGGIES WITH GREENS FOR WINTER SALADS
•Roasting is great for almost any veggie. Mix different kinds together. Of course, different veggies need different cooking times. Check HERE for more info.
•“Roast until you see toast:” An easy way to tell if your veggies are cooked., just look for crispy edges - they add lots of flavor. Kids love it!
Other Roasting Ideas
Slices vs chunks: For a different dish, slice root veggies in ¼ inch slices and roast with olive oil, salt & pepper for about 20-30 minutes, or until they’re fork tender.
Sweet Potato Fries: Cut sweet potatoes into matchstick pieces about 3in long. Drizzle on 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, turning once. Your kids will gobble them up!
Tricks for Beets: (Don’t be caught “red-handed!”)
How to peel a beet: You can use a knife, but the easier way is to cook the beet first. The skin will peel off. Leave a short stem.
•Cut off the leaves (save them) and the root of the beet.
•Wrap the beet in tinfoil with a little olive oil. Bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.
•Using a paper towel to hold the beet by stem, slip off the skin. The paper towel will keep your hands from stains!
Beet Greens taste a lot like kale! Wash and clean leaves. Heat oil in a pan, add greens and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Cook, stirring until leaves are wilted (5-8 minutes) Add the juice of half a lemon. Enjoy!
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