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Root Vegetables: Underground Flavors

Flavor Explorations Feature
#0844
By: Elizabeth Winslow
Root Vegetables: Underground Flavors

When the first frost appears and ripe, red tomatoes and plum summer squash are but a distant memory, what's a vegetable lover to do? The answer to fall and winter Meatless Monday (and veggie-focused every other day of the week) might be just below your feet. Under those fleece-lined boots, there's a whole world of hearty, satisfying root vegetables. While we often dismiss them as simple and unassuming, with a little creative culinary magic and the true flavor that Spice Islands® spices bring, they're anything but stodgy and bland. Think earthy sweet potatoes, sweet and brilliant jewel-toned beets, slender carrots and parsnips, hearty rutabagas, tender turnips, otherworldly kohlrabi, crunchy jicama, complex and nutty Jerusalem artichokes, and, of course, the comforting and versatile potato.

Root vegetables are low-maintenance when it comes to storage. Just keep them in a cool, dim, well-ventilated spot and they'll last for weeks. Beets, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, turnips, and rutabaga are best kept at refrigerator temperature. Remove the greens (but don't toss them—they're great braised or blended into pesto) for longer storage. Potatoes, yams, and sweet potatoes should be kept at roomtemperature to preserve their balance of sugar and starch.

To prepare any of your favorite roots, give them a good scrubbing to remove any residual soil, and peel if necessary. Try roasting, braising, or steaming them, or give them a quick pan sauté. Most roots can be shaved raw into salads or slaws for mid-winter crunch. Warm and assertive spices and herbs such as cinnamon, garlic, bay leaves, and rosemary are great with almost any roots.

Try out some of our favorite recipes that make the most of roots' earthy sweetness, and fall head over heels this season.

Elizabeth Winslow is a writer, food blogger, teacher and entrepreneur in Austin, Texas. She is a regular contributor to Edible Austin and creates compelling content for brands both large and small. She has an M.A. in Literature from the University of Texas at San Antonio and teaches cooking classes with Kitchen Underground. Winslow + co.

Spice Islands® spices deliver high quality, authentic flavors from all over the world so you can put the most delicious meals on your table. 

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