This year’s experimental crop was salsify. Lured by the assertion that it was ‘as easy to grow as dandelions’ we planted three rows back in April. And sure enough, it was easy – germinated quickly, grew rapidly, and seemed to hold no interest for the usual ants/ slugs/ snails/ pigeons that decimate most of our seedlings. All good. So it was with some glee that we harvested the first bunch of what seemed like a system-beating crop this week.
They’re funny-looking roots, hairy and forked, like monstrously deformed parsnips. And peeling them isn’t a whole lot of fun. But the promised flavour (like artichokes – mushrooms – oysters!) seemed worth it. They’re sappy, bleeding a starchy white sap and immediately discolouring when peeled, so looking like an unappetizing bunch of twigs they went in the oven to roast with some butter and garlic. Forty minutes later out they came, tasting – to our extreme disappointment – like an unappetizing bunch of twigs.
Was it something we did (or didn’t)? Any thoughts on salsify gratefully received – there’s still a bundle more to pick so if we can improve on the general ‘twigness’ that would be wonderful.