When we at Daily Superfood Love discover a new superfood, we are excited to share it with you. The health benefits of black salsify root make it the perfect addition to a health-conscious diet.
Not to be mistaken for salsify (a different root), Scorzonera hispanica is usually referred to as black salsify root and is part of the daisy family. Long, black roots and slightly sweet leaves are a perfect accompaniment to salads and soups.
Originally used by the Greeks and Romans (as well as other Mediterranean countries), the root has been used for hundreds of years medicinally. In the Middle Ages, the use of scorzonera became more wide spread as a natural aesthetic and treatment for viper bites, to soothe upset stomach, and treat colds.
No wonder since it is packed with antioxidants, nutrients, and all the good stuff your body loves!
- B-complex vitamins
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Every part of the scorzonera is edible – from roots to leaves to flowers – and each is delicious, naturally low in calories, and abundant in vitamins and minerals. Most people grow it specifically for the health benefits of the black salsify root.
Experts suggest wearing gloves when preparing the root since the dark outer skin gets all over the skin. It should be peeled and immediately soaked in cold water to avoid browning – preferably with a bit of lemon juice. The roots are said to have a slight “oyster-like” flavor, earning it the name of “oyster plant.”
Grown in the cool seasons, scorzonera is considered a “winter root,” with a blackish outside and white inside, and is a bit longer than a carrot. They can be harvested all year and prime planting time is fall through spring. It can be grown all over the United States and is considered a sturdy addition to home gardens.
5 Incredible Benefits of Scorzonera Hispanica
1. Stimulates Good Bacteria: Black salsify root is one of the best natural sources of inulin (a prebiotic fiber). It improves the production of “good” gut flora, specifically bifidobacteria found in the large intestine. A balance of beneficial gut flora has been linked to better heart, digestion, and brain health. They also help to flush carcinogens from the body.
2. Great for the Hair: The iron, copper, and vitamin C make scorzonera an excellent choice for menopausal women. Iron deficiency is one of the primary causes of hair loss in women when menopause begins. Iron increases oxygen flow to the scalp but should be carefully moderated. Too much iron is toxic. Copper strengthens and stimulates hair growth.
3. Anti-Aging Bonus: Skin ages when your body stops producing enough collagen to grown new skin cells. Collagen production lowers as you age and the process requires vitamin C. Absorption of iron is also dependent on this particular vitamin.
4. Central Nervous System Health: The abundance of thiamine found in black salsify root is crucial to your muscles and central nervous system. It also stimulates your body to make hydrochloric acid – necessary for gut bacteria balance.
5. Heart Health: With as much potassium per serving as bananas, scorzonera keeps your muscles working efficiently. Since your heart is also a muscle, the necessary levels of potassium are critical to continued heart health. Potassium deficiency was also found to be a contributing factor in bone weakness and osteoporosis.
How to Prepare Black Salsify Root
Experts suggest steaming rather than boiling to maintain firmness. Especially popular in Belgian, Italian, and French cooking, there are a few basic recipes for black salsify root that are easily customized to your preferences. Notes on the Menu offers a wonderful side dish recipe we can’t wait to try! They suggest serving it with roasted meat (which has our vote).
- 1 pound salsify, peeled weight
- 4 ounce piece of young ginger
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ounce butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Cut salsify into 3-inch pieces and steam until they begin to soften.
- Peel ginger and cut into fine ribbons using a vegetable peeler.
- Zest one lemon and combine all ingredients except butter and honey in a large bowl.
- Place in ovenproof dish, cover with foil, and bake at 300° for one hour.
- Remove foil, turn oven up to 350°, and cook another 40 minutes.
- Turn once halfway through.
- Stir butter and honey through salsify, coating all pieces, and return to oven for ten minutes or until the salsify has caramelized.
Naturally low in calories, good for your body, and delicious, you can’t go wrong when you include the health benefits of black salsify root to your regular nutrition plan!