What is Salsify?
Salsify is a name given to some plants from two different genera, both of which belong to the sunflower family, Asteraceae. The more famous and common variety is known as the Spanish salsify or black salsify and has its scientific name be Scorzonera hispanica. It is cultivated as a root vegetable and has broad leaves which cover above ground and an elongated, tapered, black root, occasionally up to a meter in length. The fleshy interior of the plant root is the wholesome/edible portion, and the root’s black skin is often removed before preparation.
This vegetable is indigenous to S. Europe and the Middle East, but its real point of origin is thought to be in Spain. You barely see this crop outside of Europe or even in the U.K, as the conditions are often not suitable for its cultivation. However, it is very popular in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and some other central and S. European countries.
As a food source, the black salsify can be consumed as a regular vegetable and is quite complementary to carrots and peas, usually succeeding in boiling and removing the skin. It is a promising alternative to asparagus and is often prepared in many dishes in almost a similar way, even in white bechamel sauces with cauliflower or broccoli. If you choose to steam the roots, you may also deep fry them, typical of vegetable tempura.
Although black salsify hasn’t spread too far out into the entire world, it is beginning to show up in some grocery food stores and import areas in N. America. The reason why black salsify is so necessary is that it is packed full of beneficial components and nutrients that make it a great booster for human health. Let us take some closer looks.
Health Benefits of Salsify
To fully understand the reasons you should not do without this amazing crop, keep reading the health benefits that will be listed below;
May Help Improve Digestion
Dietary fiber assists in keeping your digestive system functioning well without any problem. Salsify contains a mixture of insoluble and soluble dietary fiber, which helps to facilitate bowel movements. When ingested, it aids the body to absorb nutrients from any food you eat by slowing digestion, hence making it beneficial to constipation because it regulates the water volume of stool and can add bulkiness to the stool and help to keep your waste moving in the intestines. It may even block colon cancer and also neutralize some deadly gases that are released into your body by limiting the time waste exhaust in contact with the healthy colon cells.
Promotes Better Hair Growth
The health benefits of salsify begin with a very common issue both women and men face today – hair fall (alopecia). According to studies, reduced levels or lack of iron is the main cause of alopecia, especially during the pre-menopause time. However, if this amazing food is added to your daily diet, it can perform wonders on your hair. It contains two of the most vital nutrients the hair requires – iron and copper.
A 100 gram of salsify (raw) offers about 20 percent of the daily iron and copper requirement. Iron helps to keep your hair follicles healthy by carrying adequate levels of oxygen to the scalp. On the other hand, copper fire up hair growth and fights hair loss. Besides this, copper energizes the hair, intensifies the color of the hair, and prevents premature graying.
Apart from iron and copper, black salsify is also rich in good amounts of ascorbic acid, a nutrient that is required for the formation of collagen. Collagen keeps one’s hair healthy, energizes the hair follicles, and aids in better blood flow in your scalp.
Boost Immune System
Vitamin C is well known to scale back your chances of infections once taken in the cold season, preventing pathogenic organisms from damaging tissues and cells. The quantity of antioxidants in salsify helps boost the system.
Once there is an accumulation of these antioxidants in the somatic cells, the bodily function is increased, and there is raised destruction of deadly microbes. A deficiency of antioxidants might lead to impaired immunity and susceptibility to infections. An antioxidant is vital because your body is unable to manufacture it on its own.
Salsify Has A Low Glycemic Index.
Salsify can be absorbed slowly into the bloodstream and thus prevents sugar cravings, sugar crashes, and mood swings. This gives long-lasting energy to athletes.
Regulates Blood Pressure
The high amount of potassium (15 percent of the daily required amount in a single serving) and the reduced level of sodium means that salsify can successfully improve blood pressure issues by relaxing the blood veins and arteries (blood vessels), reducing the stress on the cardiovascular system, and preventing probabilities of heart attacks, blood clots, and strokes. Potassium is also a vital element for building healthy bones and has even been well praised for its ability to enhance cognitive ability, possibly due to the raised blood flow to the brain that can be stimulated by vaso-dilation.
Maintains Strong Bones
Black salsify is highly rich in calcium, manganese, copper, iron, potassium, copper, phosphorous, and magnesium, all of which come together to form a mineral base for strong bone tissues. Also, ascorbic acid plays an essential part in the bone formation process.
With a reasonable density of bone minerals, one may prevent commonly occurring age-linked problems like osteoporosis. Frequent consumption of salsify is reported to prevent arthritis, a disease that strikes when bones start to degenerate and the collagen (connective tissues) fails to maintain the integrity of bone joints.
Help Improve The Appearance Of The Skin
Salsify is also highly packed with effective nutrients like vitamin A (retinol) and C, which can help to wipe signs of aging and preserve one’s youthful look for years to come. The skin begins to show aging signs when there is a deficiency of the body’s collagen or as a result of too much ongoing oxidative process in the body. Salsify can also help to improve collagen production to maintain skin structure, elasticity, strength, and color by its ascorbic acid content, which also assists in the combat against diseases and helps to swap dead cells that are no longer useful to the skin. These effects lead to a net improvement to skin appearance, leaving you with youthful radiance.
Fights Cancerous Cells
Salsify is filled with active antioxidants that are very effective in the reduction of the spread of carcinogens and may halt or manage cancers of the colon, prostate, breast, and ovary. The presence of antioxidants also helps against aerophilic problems, a well-known risk problem for the development of cancerous cells.
Improve Symptoms Of PMS
The calcium level of salsify might help fight breast tenderness, mood swings, pain, and anxiety. All of these occur throughout pre-menstruation. If left untreated, it may affect the way of life and some emotional activities. Salsify might help to get you relief from those symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, serving to make the monthly prevalence less nerve-racking.
Preparation and Serving Methods
Preparing this root crop can be tedious but is worth exploring. Its outer skin should be peeled before incorporating it into the dishes. Give it a mild scrub wash in cold water. Trim the terminal ends. Peel the skin using a paring knife to reveal white edible flesh inside.
Peeling leads to the oozing of sticky latex from its surface, which may stain clothes and hands. You might need gloves and a soft piece of cloth to clean the peeled root surface. Rinse this peeled root inside vinegar/lemon juice (acidulated water) to protect it from turning brown. Peeling is also easier in boiled roots.
Here are Some Serving Tips:
Black salsify is a highly prized delicacy in many traditional Italian dishes. Diced and sliced, it can be added to soups, stews, or mashed (pureed) like parsnips.
Its prepared roots can be boiled, steamed, and roasted like asparagus shoots.
Slices and cubes are incorporated into soups, stews, and stir-fries and taken with fish and meat.
It can also be used on pies, bread, cakes, casseroles, etc., in a variety of spicy dishes.
Excess intake of salsify root in food may trigger stomach ache, abdominal discomfort, bloating, and diarrhea. Inulin also eradicates hypersensitivity reactions, redness, and itching, in some sensitive folks.
Being a family member of carrot vegetables, salsify may fight hypersensitivity reactions such as contact dermatitis and oral allergy syndrome (OAS). Folks with any underneath history of allergy to these taproots should avoid them completely.