3 Tips For Choosing Root Vegetables

Compared to leafy greens and other above-ground veggies, root vegetables can hang around for a long time without becoming limp, slimy or moldy. Also unlike surface-dwelling vegetables, roots don’t lose nutrients when exposed to air for long periods. These two options—plus roots’ low price, high nutrient content and versatility— are reason enough to add carrots, sweet potatoes, radishes, jicama, and other root veggies to your weekly shopping list. But before filling up your cart, make sure you’re getting the freshest, highest-quality root veggies you can. Here are my three tips for purchasing the best root vegetables possible: 1. Firm. Whether it be celeriac or a sunchoke, a carrot or a blue potato, a high-quality root veggie is firm. Give it a squeeze. There should be absolutely no give. While you’re looking it over, keep an eye out for any shriveled patches. If you see any, find yourself another root. Shriveling is a sign a vegetable is past its prime.

2. Avoid moist roots—of any type. Weepiness, mold or slimy spots are signs of rot.

3. Check the color. If you’ve ever eaten a carrot, sweet potato or other root vegetable that was paler than usual, you probably remember how insipid it tasted. The best-tasting root vegetables are a deeply-saturated hue. If you do happen to get a lighter-colored (and lighter-tasting) root vegetable, pump up the flavor by increasing whatever herb or spice you’re cooking with and add a pinch of your favorite natural sweetener to create a bigger taste.

Tips courtesy of Roots: The Complete Guide to the Underground Superfood (Sterling).

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