Schwarzwurzel – Salsify

Awhile back, I ordered a trial box from, which is similar in philosophy to CSCA in America. I’ve never ordered organic fruits and veggies online before and I was a little disappointed that I received bananas and kiwis, which obviously aren’t grown in Switzerland, but at the bottom of my box were these funny sticks. I actually thought they just packed some good old sticks in with the order for, I don’t know… an extra organic touch?

My coworker saw the box delivered and exclaimed, “Oh, those are Schwarzwurzel!”

Hmm…? What the heck is that? I really didn’t know the English term, even as I went home and looked up directions how to make it. I uploaded a picture on Facebook asking my friends about it and my brother humorously advised me to rub the sticks together to make a fire and then roast marshmallows over them.

It turns out in English they are called salsify. (I think!)

Following my coworkers and Google’s advice, I peeled the brown skin off like carrots and then threw them in a bowl of water before they turned brown/orange.

Peeling them was really weird. The bark-like skin is really gritty and dirty and when you peel them, they start oozing something like sap that gets all sticky and gummy over your fingers. Even with washing my hands, I ended up getting gummy bits all over my fresh kitchen towels.

I tossed them in boiling water for twenty minutes and then gave them a bit of salt and pepper.

Overall, I think they tasted OK and we were happy to eat them as our starch paired with hummus, carrots and fennel. Kay is only familiar eating this root vegetable from a can, where it is not very fresh or tasty, and he liked them better fresh, but I can’t say I’d be excited to buy them again and deal with the weird sticky, dirty peeling process.

Have you ever had salsify?

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