Salsify, AKA oyster plant, and its cousin Scorzonera are edible tubers from the Mediterranean. They were brought to North America by the Pilgrims. It is a member of the sunflower family. Today, Belgium is the main producer.
Salsify is elongated in shape, resembling the parsnip. It has white flesh, with thin, light brown skin. It is approximately 1 foot long and 2 inches in diameter. It produces shoots that are also edible.
Scorzonera or black salsify is long and tapering, like a thin carrot with blackish brown skin. It has cream colored flesh. It is less fibrous than salsify, and has a more savory taste.
Salsify and Scorzonera have a slight taste of asparagus or artichoke heart. The flesh will become sweet after a light frost. The white flesh of the vegetable will blacken quickly with contact to air, so it needs to be put in acidulated water very quickly after being peeled/ cut.
Black salsify is often eaten together with other vegetables, such as peas and carrots. But it is also popular served like asparagus in a white sauce, such as béchamel sauce. It is occasionally available in the canned form. Boiled salsify roots can also be coated with batter and deep fried. They have the texture of a cooked artichoke heart
Salsify and Scorzonera contain potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, and phosphorus. They also contain insulin, which is a good source for diabetics. It may cause flatulence in some people. It will help clean the blood. It relieves congestion of the liver and kidneys.
What to pair with Scorzonera