Sunday, September 16, 2007
Rootin' for Salsify
My parents loved oysters. Not me, though. I think they taste like mud and slime. But when i was growing up each fall my mom would fix a casserole (she was a home ec teacher who really didn't know how to cook very well but loved to make casseroles which my father mostly hated being a meat and potatoes kind of guy) made from a root vegetable that tasted like oysters (sort of) without the slime and muddiness. It had butter and milk and saltine crackers and salt and pepper and i really loved it.
When i grew up and started to my grow vegetables i was flipping through a seed catalog and what do you know there was salsify seed. So i got some grew it and made some salsify casserole. During the next 30 years when we didn't have a garden we never saw salsify again. I guess a local farmer must have supplied the local Safeway store with the salsify we ate. Obviously it is not a viable commercial crop.
When we started the community garden 4 years ago one of the first crops i planted was salsify. We ate some the next fall and left the weak, pitiful ones in the garden over the winter and next spring they put up flower stalks which bore some of the most beautiful flowers we had ever seen. The seeds matured into large fuzzy brown puffballs like giant dandelions. Of course they were scattered by the wind all over the garden but none of the other gardeners cared because the flowers were so stunningly beautiful. We've never planted another salsify seed. (it's a biennial by the way).We just let some of it got to seed each year and let some of the plants grow along the edges of the bed which we harvest in the fall leaving some to bloom again next spring and keep the cycle going.
We're having salsify for dinner. Yum!