Now we’re in September, autumn is just around the corner and with it cooler nights and filling winter warmers full of tasty root veg. To get you excited for the upcoming autumn season and all those amazing autumnal flavours, we’re focusing on the various root vegetables that are on offer.
Though available all year around, carrots are probably the most popular of the root veg on offer. Not only that but they are versatile and a good source of Vitamin A, which, while it won’t help you see in the dark, is very good for you.
These odd looking vegetables have a slightly nutty flavour and can turn brown very quickly whilst you’re preparing. Top tip – while cutting, put the slices in a bowl of water with a little lemon juice to keep it white and fresh!
It has a distinct colour and a sweet flavour which makes it a great addition to a number of autumn and winter dishes. Another top tip for you – if you plan to cook them whole, don’t peel them – that way you won’t find beetroot juice staining your cutlery and worktops.
Depending on where in the UK you are, turnips can be confused for other vegetables. Here in Dorset though, turnips are purple coloured and resemble a swede, though have a more radish like taste.
Aka neeps – swedes are large, round vegetables which when cooked have an orangey/yellow colour. Top tip – the larger the swede, the stronger its flavour, so if you want a really flavourful vegetable, pick the largest one you can find! Swedes work well mashed or cubed, if you choose to mash them, try adding in a little butter and to combine them with carrot – it also works well as a topping for a shepherd’s or cottage pie.
An absolute must with a roast dinner, these can be used as a substitute for carrots in some dishes and make a great centre for stews and soups. They are also a good lower calorie option to potatoes if you want to make a mash or some chips.
How to store root vegetables
One way to ensure the tastiest produce is to source it locally, another way is to make sure you cook it right. Before you get to the cooking part though, you have to make sure you store these vegetables properly to keep them as fresh as possible and keep the best possible flavour.
Most root vegetables have a relatively long shelf life when compared to other fresh vegetables. If you buy veg that still has the stalks attached or any greenery, cut this off and store it separately, you can always use it in other recipes – this is the bit that will start to turn the fastest, so it is important to separate them to keep the vegetable longer.
When you’ve sourced your veg, make sure to keep them on the lower shelves or in the vegetable drawer of the fridge. Alternatively, you can buy frozen and keep them in the freezer. Some farm shops freeze their vegetables immediately after picking to help retain their freshness.
How to cook root vegetables
Root vegetables are incredibly versatile and work well in lots of different recipes. Pretty much every root vegetable can be boiled, steamed, fried, mashed or roasted – giving you plenty of choice.
You can check that they’re cooked through by inserting a knife or cocktail stick to check the flesh is soft, you can even cheat by piercing the skin and cooking them in the microwave to make cooking even easier! Whether you are a novice or a pro, root vegetables are very easy to cook, the smaller ones don’t even need to be peeled – just make sure they’re clean before adding any oils or seasoning.
Looking for recipes using root vegetables for some inspiration? Check out our recipe pages here.