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Secondary Edible Parts of Vegetables

From:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/newsletters/vpmnews/apr02/art4apr.html

This article by M. J. Stephens, University of Florida, Department of Horticulture, appeared in “Vegetarian,” 98-05.

The culinary reputation of most vegetables is based primarily on the edible qualities of one or sometimes two primary parts of the plant. For example, the tomato is the leading garden vegetable, due to the popular appeal of its fruit, while the turnip contributes both its root and its leaves as table fare. For home gardeners who grow and have the entire vegetable plant at their disposal, other plant parts may be edible, although perhaps not so tasty as the main product. For non-gardeners, however, there is little option for eating parts other than those offered for sale.

The following is a list of ordinary garden vegetables with both commonly-eaten parts and less-frequently eaten parts. Obviously, in a list such as this, there may be quite a few omissions.

Although many of the secondary plant parts are edible, their popularity as food items is diminished by lack of proper flavor or unfavorable texture. For example, the leaves of practically all the cabbage family are edible, but the strong flavors of some species are disagreeable or too strong for most people’s taste.

The edible leaves and stem tips of sweet potato vines are well known in many parts of the world. Often considered a poor man’s food, sweet potato foliage has a rich protein content that helps supplement the nutritional value of the roots.

As for all vegetable parts, there is a great deal of variation within varieties in flavor and culinary characteristics of these secondary parts. For example, some sweet-potato stem tips in certain varieties are bitter, with a resinous flavor that is too strong.

Quite often, cooking is necessary to make the parts edible. Raw leaves eaten fresh may even be slightly poisonous in some cases.

Vegetable Common Edible Parts Other Edible Parts
Beans, snap pod with seeds leaves
Beans, lima seeds pods, leaves
Beets root leaves
Broccoli flower leaves, flower stem
Carrot root leaves
Cauliflower immature flower flower stem, leaves
Celery leaf stems leaves, seeds
Corn, sweet seeds young ears, unfurled tassel, young leaves
Cucumber fruit with seeds stem tips and young leaves
Eggplant fruit with seeds leaves edible but not flavorful
Kohlrabi swollen stem leaves
Okra pods with seeds leaves
Onions root young leaves
Parsley tops roots
Peas, English seeds pods, leaves
Peas, Southern seeds, pods young leaves
Pepper pods leaves after cooking, immature seeds
Potatoes, Sweet roots leaves and stem shoots
Radish roots leaves
Squash fruit with seeds seeds, flowers, young leaves
Tomato fruits with seeds leaves contain alkaloids
Turnip roots, leaves ———-
Watermelon fruit — interior pulp and seeds rind of fruit

Hamburg Parsley Turnip – Versatile and yummy!

http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2008/10/23/its-a-parsnip-its-a-carrot-no-its-parsley-root/

It’s a Parsnip, it’s a Carrot – No, it’s Parsley Root

October 23, 2008 By

Parsley RootMy choice for this weeks unusual vegetable is Parsley Root (Petroselinum crispum variety tuberosum), also known as Rooted parsley, Turnip-Rooted Parsley, Dutch Parsley, Hamburg Parsley or Heimischer. It’s a winter root that has been used for centuries for soups and stews in the “Old World” but is fairly unknown and underutilized everywhere else – at least in the culinary community.

Parsley root extract has been shown to be useful for chronic liver and gallbladder diseases. It is a diuretic, blood purifier, carminative, and hepatic.

The parsnip-like root is white, dry and has a flavor somewhat like celery, turnips, and, of course, parsley. It’s usually available August through April, being at it’s peak in November through February. Use it like you would a parsnip, carrot, celery root or turnip. Think aromatic, a little aggressive, herbal and pungent.

It pairs beautifully with other roots in dishes like:

Caramelized Assorted Root Vegetables
Roasting vegetables is an age-old technique that releases natural sugars. By combining several vegetables and cooking them slowly until they are caramelized and sweet, I take that method one step further and achieve an enticing medley of flavors and textures. You could serve these humble root vegetables alone or with almost any roasted meat, game or poultry. Add a salad of tossed greens to your menu to round out the meal. The recipe can be doubled or tripled if necessary, but divide the mixture between several pans so the cooking process is not affected.

For the Roasted Root Vegetables
4 ounces pearl onions
1 head garlic
4 carrots
2 parsnips
2 turnips
2 parsley roots
2 Yukon Gold, 6 fingerling or other waxy potatoes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive, plus more if needed
kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

To Prepare the Roasted Root Vegetables: Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Fill a medium-sized saucepan two-thirds full with water and set over high heat. Bring water to a boil. Add onions and boil one minute or slightly longer to loosen skins. Remove onions with a slotted spoon and let cool. When onions are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to loosen skins, then slip off the skins and discard. Set onions aside.

Separate the head of garlic into cloves and lightly smash each clove using the side of a large knife to loosen the skin. Remove the skin and set garlic cloves aside. Peel carrots, parsnips, and parsley root then cut into pieces about 2-inches long. Peel turnips and potatoes, halve lengthwise, then cut each half into 1-inch thick slices. Set all vegetables aside.

In a large, heavy roasting pan or in a large, ovenproof sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the vegetables and sauté, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and season vegetables with salt and pepper.

Transfer pan with vegetables to oven. Roast, stirring every 5 minutes, until vegetables are lightly browned and tender when pierced with a knife, 30 to 35 minutes. If the vegetables start to stick to the bottom of the pan while roasting, add 1 to 2 tablespoons additional oil and toss again.

Remove pan from oven and taste and adjust seasoning.

Advance Preparation: These vegetables are best served immediately after they come out of the oven, but if you prefer, you can roast them ahead and reheat them just before serving.

Substitutions and Options: Any root vegetables will work; you may omit or add vegetables to suite your tastes and what is available in the market.

Makes 4 side dish servings