Sunday, September 28, 2008


Sales of root vegetables, particularly turnips have risen dramatically recently as cash-strapped Britons look for cheap and nutritious ways to feed their families. Turnips, swedes and parsnips have all become increasingly popular with British shoppers. Turnips were first grown in Europe over 2,000 years ago and were a prized vegetable to the Romans. They were particularly popular in wartime when food was rationed and they were seen as a cheap and cheerful vegetable, which was filling and readily available. However after the war, they had a certain amount of stigma attached to them with many Brits regarding them as peasant food. Their close relatives swedes and parsnips were seen as being much more sophisticated vegetables and became much more popular with shoppers. However all that looks set to change as some of Britain’s most famous chefs including Jamie Oliver and Delia Smith, use turnips, together with other root vegetables in their recipes. I enjoyed the BBC series Blackadder starring Rowan Atkinson in the title role. His trusty servant Baldrick loved turnips and gave them his seal of approval! Other popular root vegetables include carrots, potatoes, beetroots and sweet potatoes.

Root vegetables are also very easy to grow, even in the smallest garden and can be grown in large pots or containers. Getting children involved in helping to grow their own vegetables is always a good idea too. Most parents have an uphill struggle trying to persuade their children to eat vegetables. However many children are quite keen to eat vegetables they have grown themselves! Growing your own vegetables is a healthy and rewarding pastime for children and adults alike.

It’s funny how times and trends change. I always remember my grandparents cooking meals with root vegetables. As a child, I enjoyed swede and carrot mash, turnip mash and stews and soups containing a variety of root vegetables. Root vegetables taste as good today as they have always done. Packed with lots of vitamins and minerals, they are great winter warmers and particularly good for bulking out stews and casseroles. More importantly they also count towards your five fruit and vegetable a day target. I love honey glazed parsnips, a great accompaniment to so many dishes. Parsnip crisps are a great and healthy alternative to normal potato crisps sold in supermarkets for both children and adults alike. This recipe by Sophie Grigson is one of my favourites:-

Parsnip Crisps

Here’s a link to another great recipe which makes a tasty accompaniment to your favourite meat dish or an excellent and impressive main dish for vegetarians:-

Gratin of Carrots and Root Vegetables

Bon Appetit!


Jackie said...

It's a good thing as they are all soooo nutritious and saves you having to pay out for food supplements. Their tops are also nutritious as the US South must have realized many years ago as they feature so much in their recipes.

jmisgro said...

The first time I had parsnips was when my oldest was in 1st grade. She graduated in June. SO it was a long time ago. I have never made them for my family but I will try your recipes.
Have you eaten squash, like butternut or acorn? If so, what do they taste like. I have been wanting to try them but don't want to eat something that may taste like pumpkin pie.

Naomi said...

They all taste great Jackie. I noticed people in the Deep South use them a lot in their recipes.

JMisgro I'm sure you'll enjoy those receipes. I would liken the taste of butternut squash to that of a sweet potato or pumpkin. It's probably an acquired taste for most people. I have never heard of Acorn. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed your visit here.