Salsify or Vegetable Oyster
Salsify or Vegetable Oyster
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Other Names

Tragopogon porrifolius / Scorzonera hispanica

French : Salsifis

Other name: Oyster Plant


Are you familiar with salsify? Low in calories, and with a flavor slightly reminiscent of artichoke, this root vegetable is found on market stalls from October to late January. A little information on its history and use:

As far back as ancient times, the Greeks were eating this vegetable which they knew as "goat's beard," a name that is still used today to refer to wild salsify (along with the picturesque name "jack-go-to-bed-at-noon"!) Olivier de Serres, superintendent of gardens to France's Henri IV, was the first to recommend its cultivation, as early as 1600.

There are two kinds of salsify: "true salsify," with yellow skin, and "black salsify" or "black oyster plant," so called because of its black root (also evidenced by its Latin name, scorza nera). These two plants are often confused. They look similar and are grown and used in the same way. They both have a long fleshy edible root, but the difference is in the color of their skin. It's also worth noting that black salsify is less fibrous and tastier. In fact, yellow-skinned salsify has practically disappeared.


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