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When is the last time you ate a turnip? A parsnip? A rutabaga? Maybe you’re not even sure what they look like. These root vegetables were a staple in the early American farmers’ diet, but today are rarely seen on American tables. In fact, most Americans rarely eat vegetables, and when they do they choose only a few, such as carrots, peas, tomatoes, and potatoes. I’m sure that I am talking to the majority that do eat vegetables with every meal, but maybe you could use some extra motivation.

Fresh Vegetables Can Be The Highlight Of Every Meal!

Most vegetables can be prepared and cooked in a short amount of time. Almost every vegetable that has been studied has been found to contain substances that benefit the heart and blood or counteract the formation of tumors. Fresh vegetables eaten with the right fats on a daily basis, are one of our best protections against coronary heart disease and cancer.

Eating In Season And Local Produce

Eating in season vegetables maximizes your nutritional intake. Eating produce grown locally and in season gives you the benefit of consuming vegetables picked at its peak of ripeness. Produce that is transported long distances is picked before it is ripe. Although it will ripen during transport, the nutritional value of produce comes through the stem. The vitamin and mineral content decreases each day the fruit or vegetable spends sitting in the truck or on the shelf. The flavor and texture of freshly harvested foods is also much better when purchased or grown locally.

There are many websites that will tell you what vegetables are in season in your location, but I like Epicurious’ version. Also, this book caught my attention and is now on my Amazon wish list: The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget.

Winter Root Vegetables

Here’s a list of what root vegetables are in season now.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Parsnips
  • Jerusalem Artichokes
  • Onions
  • Horseradish
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Rutabaga
  • Turnips
  • Kohlrabi
  • Celeriac/Celery root

I want to focus on root vegetables especially the unpopular ones, such as rutabagas, turnips, and parsnips. They have many benefits and make a great Christmas side dish!

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Parsnip

More popular in Medieval times than today, parsnips gave way to carrots at our tables several centuries ago. The parsnip is sweeter than the carrot especially if left in the ground until after frost. Parsnips are rich in many micro-nutrients. They are an excellent source of potassium, folic acid, manganese and dietary fiber. Due to their folic acid content, they’re a good option for expectant mothers or women who are trying to conceive.

Parsnips are at their peak between December and February. Look for parsnips that are firm (just like a good carrot) and not overly large, because they can get woody and bitter when they get too big. They may be sold loose, although I usually find them in one-pound bags, similar to carrots.

 

Image by meredith

Rutabaga

A Rutabaga is a cruciferous vegetable. It contains phytochemicals that remove carcinogens from the body and help the liver process toxins. Rutabaga is also a good source of antioxidants, which help prevent free radical damage to our cells and DNA. Rutabagas are especially high in potassium and three trace minerals. They also contain magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, B- vitamins, and are an excellent source of vitamin C, with one cup providing 53 percent of the recommended daily value.

Select rutabagas that are 3 to 5 inches in diameter—the smaller, the sweeter—and that feel firm, smooth, and heavy, with no cracks or soft spots.

 

Image by Darwin Bell

Turnip

A turnip, like it’s cousin the rutabaga, does not test high in vitamins but are a very rich source of potent cancer-fighting substances called glucosinolates. Turnips were a staple food in American diets because of their keeping qualities. They could be stored over the winter in root cellars.

When selecting turnips, look for a firm and and blemish-free exterior with vibrant green tops, which are often removed and sold separately.  Larger turnips tend to be woody, so try to select smaller ones.

Here is a recipe that includes all three of the above root vegetables. It makes a great vegetable dish for your Christmas meal!

[amd-zlrecipe- recipe:34]

Are Root Veggies A Regular On Your Table This Winter? What Is Your Favorite Way To Prepare Them?

**This post has been entered into Real Food Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #58, Allergy Free Wednesday, Waste Not Want Not WednesdayWildcrafting Wednesday, and Whole Foods Wednesday.**

This is the writings of:

Beverly and her husband have been married for five years. She worked as an Electrical Engineer until 2011 when she was laid-off. With God’s guidance she determined to be a homemaker and started researching the best foods to eat. During her research she came across the WAPF and began to understand the importance of “real” food in her diet. She recently started blogging to share what she is learning on her “real” food journey. Check out her blog, Alive & Living for articles about living and eating the way God intended.

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9 Comments

  1. I love root veggies! I would love to have you link this to the Wildcrafting Wednesday blog hop!

    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2012/12/wildcrafting-wednesday-2.html

    Hope to see you there!

    Reply

  2. we are in the midst of eating a ton of turnips and rutabegas. the kids think they taste like potatoes. i just add them to soups. we eat the greens and all. I LOVE my beet kvass and beet greens as well.

    Reply

  3. I consider myself an adventurous eater, but as I read the list of winter root vegetables I found several that I’ve never tried. I’ll be on the look out for them, especially rutabaga. I didn’t know it was a cruciferous vegetable. I saw this recipe for Celeric Soup at Front Porch Foodie that sounds really good http://frontporchfoodie.com/?p=956 .

    Reply

  4. [...] Ingredient Spotlight: Root Vegetables from Modern Alternative Kitchen. Seasonal veggies with great kid appeal! [...]

    Reply

  5. [...] Now, there are two ways to go about this. First, you can go into the store blind and pick up something you have never bought before. If you’re a list maker then you can do a little research, flip through the amazing-looking recipes of this blog and buy something that you have heard a lot about, but just haven’t had a reason to buy before. If you bought Festive Traditions you will have seen the Brussels sprouts recipe. It was this recipe that will have me buying those little things for years to come. How about rutabaga and parsnips? Try Glazed Root Vegetables. [...]

    Reply

  6. [...] wanting to eat vegetables that are in season, check out my post over at Modern Alternative Kitchen: Ingredient Spotlight: Root Vegetables. I included a recipe for Glazed Root Vegetables to start you off in the right direction. [...]

    Reply

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