Salsify Facts

Salsify Facts
Salsify, also known as oyster plant, is herbaceous plant that belongs to the aster family. It originates from Mediterranean parts of Europe, but it can be found around the world today. It grows on the moist, well-drained soil, exposed to full sun. Cultivation of salsify in Europe started in 16th and 17th century. Salsify is not as popular as other types of root vegetables, but it still represents important part of human diet in certain parts of Europe (Belgium, France, Italy, Germany and Great Britain) and Russia. Besides being used as a source of food, salsify is often cultivated in ornamental purposes.
Interesting Salsify Facts:
Salsify produces erect, unbranched stem that can reach 2 to 4 feet in height.
Salsify develops green, thin, grass-like leaves.
Salsify has slender, carrot-shaped, snow-white root covered with rough skin on the surface.
Salsify produces purple flower heads surrounded with green bracts. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers).
Salsify blooms from June to September. Plant develops large, colorful flower heads during the second year of growth. Flowers attract insects which are responsible for the pollination of this plant.
Fruit of salsify is cypsela (type of dry fruit).
Salsify propagates via seed. Sowing usually takes place early in the spring. Root is ready for the harvest just before the first frost.
Salsify (root) is rich source of dietary fibers. It contains moderate amount of vitamins B2, B6 and C and minerals such as potassium, manganese and phosphorus. 100g of raw salsify contains 82 calories.
Salsify can be consumed raw (in the form of various salads) or it can be steamed, cooked and fried. Salsify is often used for the preparation of soups, stews and dishes made of roasted beef. It is also available in the canned form.
Salsify is also known as "oyster plant" due to earthy taste of this root which resembles the taste of oysters.
Spanish salsify is a type of salsify with black skin on the surface. Spanish salsify is less fibrous, more flavorful (it has strong, distinct flavor) and it has thicker root that is easy to peel (compared to the common salsify).
Sprouting seed, young leaves and unopened flower buds of salsify are also edible. Flowering buds of salsify have taste like asparagus.
All parts of salsify contain sticky, milky latex that can be used for chewing (like a chewing gum).
Salsify was used in treatment of liver and gall bladder disorders in the ancient Greece. Latest medical studies showed that salsify can boost immunity, improve digestion, circulation and mineral bone density and aid in treatment of hypertension. Salsify also has diuretic properties (it facilitates elimination of the excess water from the body).
Salsify is biennial plant, which means that it completes its life cycle in two years.

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