Eat your (autumn) veggies
Now starring in the stands of your local farmer’s market or supermarket shelves near you: a colorful cast of autumn vegetables, just waiting to be discovered and devoured. The line-up includes not only the familiar favorites such as cabbage and squash, but also the more obscure fennels and celeriacs, which, even in supporting roles, can steal the scene. Without further ado, we present you with six scrumptious veg to try this autumn, along with a short sketch of a serving inspiration. Consult a recipe website for exact cooking instructions.
Celery Root / Knollensellerie
This off-white ball with alien-like tentacles sprouting off is no looker for sure, but it’s packed with fiber and vitamins B6, C and K. Its flavor resembles a milder version of its cousin, the more familiar green celery, and it can be eaten both raw and cooked. In German supermarkets, it’s often sold in quarters, bundled up with carrots, leek and parsley as a soup stock.
Try it: whip up a quick salad with an equal amount of chopped or shredded celery root and apples, add a couple of chopped walnuts for crunch and season with a light yogurt dressing.
Parsnips / Pastinaken
Parsnips resemble oversized carrots bleached of all their color. They are rich in vitamin C, fiber, manganese and potassium. As the larger specimens have tough skins and a woody core, the smaller ones are much easier to work with.
Try it: peel and slice parsnips and carrots into pinkie finger-sized strips, coat with olive oil, season with your favorite herbs and spices, pepper and nutmeg and bake until soft.
German Turnip / Kohlrabi
This fist-sized, round green veg with slender stalks sprouting up all over from its top half is a German supermarket staple. Kohlrabi has a high content of vitamin C and plenty of fiber. It can be enjoyed raw or cooked.
Try it: In Germany, this vegetable is often served with a creamy white sauce. Peel the bulb, being sure to get rid of all the woody bits, cube and boil until soft. Make a white sauce with flour, melted butter, and a bit of the water in which the kohlrabi was cooked, season and pour over the cooked parsnips.
Savoy Cabbage / Wirsing
Imagine your basic head of cabbage bundled up in a frilly, lacy, dark green jacket and you’ve conjured up the image of this classy Brassica. This choice is rich in vitamins C and K and it contains many more potentially cancer-fighting glucosinolates than other members of the cabbage family.
Try it: this beauty makes a regular appearance in traditional German recipes. A quick and easy way of prep is to discard the coarse outer leaves, wash, quarter and boil the inner part in slightly salted water until tender, drain and puree with a hand-held blender. Mix in onions sautéed in butter and season with nutmeg. A bit of cream complements the finished product nicely.
Fennel / Fenchel
Imagine a massive peeled clove of garlic with celery shoots and fresh dill poking out of its top and that’s sort of what fennel looks like. Its flavor reminiscent of anise isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it does mellow with cooking. It’s rich in potassium, and its various parts are used in all kinds of natural remedies, from teas to oral hygiene.
Try it: remove the outer layers and tough core, quarter, douse with olive oil and bake. Add Gruyère or Parmesan cheese for an even more explosive taste sensation.
Hokkaido / Red Kuri Squash
This vibrant veg, a smooth and bright red-orange orb, is a smash hit with Germans, and small wonder. Rich in vitamins and minerals, one of its best properties is an outer skin that softens during the cooking, negating the need for peeling.
Try it: pumpkin soup, hands-down one of the best treats of the season, is easy-peasy to make. Cube a pumpkin, douse it with oil, bake in the oven and when soft, toss into a bouillon along with a sautéed onion. Puree with a hand-held blender, refine with coconut milk or cream, season with nutmeg and serve with pumpkin seed oil.
What’s your favorite autumn veggie dish?
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