Scorzonera ‘Hoffmanns Schwarzer Pfahl’

$3.50

Hardly anyone grows scorzonera in Australia which is a shame as it’s so tasty. It’s an old vegetable native to Southern Europe and the Near East.

It’s sometimes called black salsify, but it isn’t related to salsify as well as being perennial. The black roots are very long so you have to grow it in deep, friable soil, just to be able to dig it up. The roots are also very brittle so they break easily if you are rough in digging.

They have a very mild flavour that reminds me of artichoke hearts. They’re easy to grow and deserve a place in every food garden.

50 seeds

12 in stock

Description

Hardly anyone grows scorzonera in Australia which is a shame as it’s so tasty. It’s an old vegetable native to Southern Europe and the Near East.

It’s sometimes called black salsify, but it isn’t related to salsify as well as being perennial. The black roots are very long so you have to grow it in deep, friable soil, just to be able to dig it up. The roots are also very brittle so they break easily if you are rough in digging.

They have a very mild flavour that reminds me of artichoke hearts. They’re easy to grow and deserve a place in every food garden.

 

Botanical name: Scorzonera hispanica

Planting: Plant in spring. Plant 30-40cm apart. Sow seeds directly in the garden as they don’t transplant well.

Care: Although it grows in poor soil and can take some drought it does way better when watered regularly and taken care of. make sure to remove weeds in the bed.

Harvest: Harvest when the plants start to die down in Autumn or at around 6-12 months after sowing. Dig deep to avoid cutting the roots short – they will be around 30 – 40cm long.

Diseases: Scorzonera are rarely attacked by pests..

Cooking: Many books and sites recommend scrubbing the black skin off the roots before cooking. I don’t bother, partly because the root are fragile, and because it doesn’t really make a difference. The roots ooze sticky latex sap so you might want to wear gloves while preparing if you don’t want to be washing your hands for the next half hour. If you want to remove the skins it is easier to do it after boiling.

I prefer to steam them and serve with a white sauce but many people just boil them and serve like carrots. The young leaves can be cooked an eaten but I’m not a fan.

Seed Saving: After digging you can replant the tops (after cutting off the roots for the kitchen) to grow them for flowers and seed the next year. They won’t produce big roots from these tops, but the finger-like roots they do produce can be eaten if you want. Try to keep at least 6 plants for seed to reduce inbreeding.