Food Talk
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Finding Your Roots

rootsveggieAutumn is the time to find your roots, vegetables that is. Although, root vegetables don’t share a “glamorous” reputation like exotic greens and so many beautiful looking fruits, once you cut into them, you’ll find their beauty within.

The fact that they’ve spent most of their growing time under ground means they’re loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals. When prepared properly, root vegetables are delicious, versatile, one of the most inexpensive sources of healthy food.

Root vegetables include: Yams, beets, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, yucca, kohlrabi, onions, garlic, celery root, horseradish, daikon, Jerusalem artichokes, radishes, and ginger.

Healthy and low-calorie

All root vegetables are packed with a high concentration of antioxidants, Vitamins C, B, A, and iron, which makes them immunity and energy-boosting.

They are filled with slow-burning carbohydrates and fibre, which make you feel full, and help regulate your blood sugar and digestion. Cooked or raw, they help cleanse your system.

Preparing root vegetables

Root vegetables are hard and many have a bitter earthy flavour, so most taste better when cooked. Some, like beets, must be peeled; others, like carrots just need to be scrubbed. In most instances, you’ll want to peal the root vegetable before cooking. Sweet potatoes, however, can be baked whole, or in halves first and then the potato pulp scraped off the skin. Beets also are best cooked before they are peeled.

Getting to know your Roots:

Sweet Potatoes and Yams (look the same and basically taste the same):  Sweet potatoes are loaded with iron, potassium and vitamin C. Yellow or orange sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene that yields vitamin A. 1 cup of sweet potatoes contains roughly 103 calories and 3 grams of dietary fiber, or about
12 percent of the recommended daily amount.

Beets: A super food, full of beta-carotene and betalains, which are antioxidants and anti- inflammatory. Golden beets are slightly sweeter than red beets. Boil or steam with skins on. Once cooked, the skins slip off easily (but wear rubber gloves or your hands will be dyed pink!).

Parsnips: Parsnips look like large white carrots and have a distinct, almost cinnamon flavour. They are great roasted, but if you find the flavour too strong, use them to enhance the flavour of soups and stews.

Rutabagas: Unlike the smaller white/purple turnips, rutabagas have a more earthy taste and a lovely orange colour. You must peel them first because they always come coated in wax to help preserve them. Like parsnips, rutabagas add great flavour to soups, stews or mashed into potatoes.

Root Vegetable Stew 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (cubed) of each: carrots, yellow beets, turnips, parsnip and sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 large onion-thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. fresh, minced ginger
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable stock and 1/4 cup reserved
  • 2 tbsp. unbleached flour
  • 1 tbsp. chopped, fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp. chopped, fresh parsley
  • 1 medium sprig rosemary

Method

  1. Combine all vegetables, garlic, ginger, salt and cayenne pepper.
  2. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are slightly tender, about 20-25 mins.
  3. Combine flour with an additional 1/4 cup vegetable stock and stir until smooth.
  4. Add to the stew. Reduce to low heat and continue cook-ing an additional 5 mins.
  5. Add fresh parsley, sage and rosemary.
  6. Simmer 5-10 more minutes.

Serve over brown rice, quinoa or enjoy by itself.