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This is a great time of year to enjoy root vegetables. These are the tubers and roots of vegetables that we can eat. Root vegetables grow underground and absorb a lot of nutrients from the soil. They are concentrated with antioxidants, Vitamins C, B, A, and iron. They are also packed with carbohydrates and fiber, which help you feel full, and aid in regulating your blood sugar and digestive system.

In addition to power packed nutritional density, root vegetables are also extremely versatile in cooking not to mention inexpensive. Here are some root vegetable ideas and preparation suggestions.

Picture of roasted vegetables

Beets — Beets are higher in both fiber and sugar than other root vegetables, and are a good source of folate, potassium and manganese. Beets are high in naturally occurring nitrates and may help to support healthy blood pressure. Roasting or steaming beets whole makes them easier to peel. They also are delicious raw, shredded and tossed in salads or thinly sliced and baked into chips.

Carrots — Carrots are commonly orange on grocery store shelves, yet in nature they come in a variety of sizes, colors and flavors. Carrots are a great source of vitamin A from beta carotene. Carrots are wonderful in a variety of cooking methods – raw, roasted, or in soup. The more fresh the carrot, the sweeter and juicier it will be.

Celery Root — Celery root, or celeraic, is a big ball of a vegetable that’s a bit tough to peel. But once you do you’ll be rewarded with an earthy, almost herbal flavor that comes through whether raw, roasted, pureed or mashed.

Parsnips — Parsnips are similar to carrots although white in color. They’re earthy-sweet and starchy like potatoes. One-half cup of cooked parsnips contains about 3 grams of fiber and more than 10 percent of the daily values of vitamin C and folate. Choose smaller parsnips so they are more tender, then peel and cube for a roast, mash, puree or fries.

Radishes — Radishes have a crisp, spicy bite that mellows under heat. Choose firm radishes with a healthy sheen and no cracks, and slice them into salads or on a sandwich, or sauté them in butter with mint.

Rutabagas — Rutabagas are a cross between cabbage and turnip. Rutabagas are more fibrous than turnips and slightly sweeter and are a great source of vitamin C. Choose firm ones smaller than a softball for roasts and mashes.

Sweet Potatoes — Sweet potatoes great sources of fiber and vitamin A. And they are as versatile as they are delicious. Try them roasted, boiled, broiled, sautéed, mashed, steamed or baked!

Turnips — When harvested young, turnips are tender and sweet. Look for small ones with firm, pearly white skin. You can even eat the turnip greens (they’ve got a spicy, mustard flavor), and are packed with vitamins A, K & C.

Check out this recipe on Roasted Root Vegetables for a hearty mix-up!

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County.

Reviewed by:  Daniel Remley, Extension Specialist, Ohio State University Extension.

Sources:

“Good for You: Root Vegetables.” Kansas State Research and Extension. Kansas SNAP Ed. (retrieved 11/7/2018). https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/humannutrition/newsletters/good-for-you/goodforyou-documents/goodforyoufall2015.pdf

Larson, H. MS, RD (October 3, 2017) “9 Fall Produce Picks to Add to Your Plate for a hearty mix-up.” American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/9-fall-produce-picks-to-add-to-your-plate

 

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