Recently, one can notice the interest in forgotten species of arable crops. The reason for this phenomenon is the increased awareness of the diet of consumers and the reduction in the diversity of consumed plant products. One of the species that slowly returns to favor is the sclera, also known as a black snake. Why does the mascarpone appear again on Polish tables? What nutritional values does it have? Where to buy it? What does it taste best with? You will know the answers to these questions immediately.
Scorzonera – characteristics of the species, curiosities
Scorzonera (Scorzonera hispanica L.) is a plant originating from Central and Southern Europe. Under natural conditions, it can be found in Spain, France, and Portugal. The cultivated species occurs in two main varieties, which differ in the shape of the leaves. In our country, the scorzonera was not as popular as in the south of Europe. The earliest mention of crops originates from the late 19th century. In the second half of the twentieth century, foreign varieties of scorzoneras arrived in Poland – Einjahrige Riesen and Schwarze Peter. It is also called a black snake, the term comes from Spain, where the scorzonera was used as an antidote to the bites of poisonous snakes.
Scorzonera is a two-year plant. Its edible parts are storage roots resembling the shape of horseradish roots. They are consumed in the first year of planting. After the first winter, they lose their culinary usefulness, become hard and fibrous. They reach a length of about 30 cm and have a thick black skin. The most valuable, however, are shorter roots with a length of 20-22 cm, they are tastier and their harvest is easier. The skin of the scallions is fleshy, has a white or cream color. The roots taste like white asparagus, you can eat them in a boiled and blanched form. In addition to the roots for edible purposes, you can also use the leaves, but they must be young leaves. The cultivation of scorzonera is not difficult. The plant requires only fertile soil with a neutral pH. He likes the sun and moderate humidity, this species can be grown on flat areas or ridges.
Scorzonera – nutritional and health-promoting properties
Scorzonera is a vegetable with high nutritional value. Like other root vegetables, it contains large amounts of dietary fiber and vitamins. You can also find numerous minerals, such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and chlorine. The scorzonera roots are especially recommended for people with type 2 diabetes. They have a low glycemic index, and in their composition also contain inulin – a valuable polysaccharide found in tubers, rhizomes and lower parts of plant stems, it is a reserve material.
Inulin is a prebiotic – a substance that, after fermentation in the large intestine, becomes a nutrient for bacteria that live there. The resistance of our body comes from the intestines, so it is very important to take care of their proper work. It has been proven that the appropriate content of inulin in the diet correlates positively with the increased absorption of minerals from food. It increases the bioavailability of elements such as magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc. This may be important in the prevention of certain diseases, e.g. osteoporosis.
Numerous scientific studies prove that inulin has potential anti-cancer activity. It relates in particular to hormone-dependent tumors, e.g. breast, ovarian and prostate cancer. Due to the high content of minerals and vitamins, the extract from the scorzonera is ideal for hair care. The roots of the black snake have large amounts of ascorbic acid in their composition. This vitamin increases the absorption of iron from food products and at the same time, it improves the blood circulation of the hair follicles. The appropriate level of iron in the diet prevents excessive hair loss.
Scorzonera also contains vitamins from group B. These compounds are responsible for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Korzonera roots are the source of thiamine, which has a positive effect on the work of our brain, cognitive functions, and logical thinking. The use of thiamine is also recommended for physically active people. It regulates the work of muscle tissue and affects the metabolism of carbohydrates in the body.
Although no strong scientific evidence has been provided, the roots of the scorzonera are considered to be a rejuvenating agent. It is also said to remove acne, lichen, and other skin imperfections.
Scorzonera – where to buy and what to look for?
Scorzonera is certainly not a popular vegetable. It is difficult to find it on the shelves of grocery stores and greengrocers. To try this vegetable, you need to get a little tired while searching for it. Korzonera roots are easiest to buy in organic food stores. If there is no such stand in your immediate surroundings, you can use the services of online stores. The price for a bunch of scorzoneras varies from PLN 3.5 to PLN 10 for 250 g, depending on the producer and the species. This is not too high a stake for such a tasty and valuable vegetable. Once it appears in the kitchen, it’s worth getting ready to prepare it. Scorzonera requires special treatment.
First of all – the root has strong coloring properties. Second – the pigment found in the plant is very durable. It’s hard to wash it off your hands and wash it off your clothes. So if you want to avoid unpleasant experiences, you should buy rubber gloves before peeling and washing the roots. This will ensure safety and convenience during cooking.
Scorzonera – recipes
There are few recipes in which the root of the scorzonera plays a major role. Nevertheless, it is a vegetable that does not require high culinary skills. After peeling, you can cook it, salt it and it is ready for consumption. However, if you want to try the vegetable in a different version, there are some useful recipes below.
Salad with scallions and apples
– 500 g of peeled scorzonera,
– 2 eggs,
– 1 medium-sized pear,
– 1 medium-sized apple,
– 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise,
– 3 tablespoons of natural yogurt,
– 3 spoons of chopped hazelnuts,
– 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley,
– ½ lime juice,
– salt and pepper to taste.
A method of preparing
Peel the cooked peel cut in water with a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt. Once it is soft, it should be strained and set aside. After cooling, cut it into pieces with a length of 1 cm. We sprinkle them with lime juice. The next step is to boil the hard-boiled eggs and cut them into medium-sized cubes. We do the same with peeled pear and apple. Mayonnaise mix with yogurt, season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour all ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly. We put on plates and sprinkle with chopped nuts. The salad is ready to eat!
We also have a position for adult skylarks. It turns out that you can prepare tasty wine from its roots. This specificity is attributed to strong warming and anti-tussive properties. Besides, it is recommended to drink small amounts of this drink (25 ml per day) to regenerate physical and mental strength. If you are wondering whether this information is true, you must convince yourself.
Wine with scorzonera
– 80 g of freshly cut ends of young shoots,
– 1 liter of dry white wine,
– 100 ml of 70% spirit.
A method of preparing
The ends of the scorzonera roots are thoroughly cleaned, washed and blended to a smooth mass. Pour the obtained pulp with alcohol mixed with ½ of the prepared amount of white wine. Set aside for two hours, mix thoroughly from time to time. After this time, add the rest of the wine to our mortar, mix and leave for a week in a warm place. After this time, the liquid is drained through the filter paper and, depending on the needs, we drink in small quantities.
We were able to bring up the most important information about the scorzonera. If you ever meet the roots of this vegetable on the shop shelf, do not be afraid to throw them into your basket. You already know the dietary and health properties of scorzoneras. You know what it tastes best and how it should be prepared. Scorzonera, though inconspicuous and mysterious, fully deserves to return to our tables after many years.