Today we are here to discuss the root vegetables. These vegetables grow underground and come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Soon we will learn what is a root vegetable and how to grow them. Then we will learn fun ways to cook them. Finally, we will learn about the different types of root vegetables, and how they are beneficial to a healthy diet.
What Are Root Vegetables
One will see a variety of vegetables in a vegetable garden but some vegetables can’t be seen. A person must look below the surface to see these plants; because, these are the root vegetables. Root vegetables are the fruit of the earth because they grow in the earth itself. These vegetables will acquire the nutrients they need to grow underground. They will also not grow up from the ground but will grow in the ground. For these vegetables to survive, they will need to develop tough skin to not be destroyed during the growing process.
How to Grow Root Vegetables
Root vegetables are hard to maintain, so one could have a big crop full of root vegetables in the fall. Now when growing root vegetables, one will need to have a raised bed of loose soil. This must be done so the vegetables themselves can grow without being destroyed. These vegetables require cool weather so plant them sometime mid to late summer for a fall harvest. Make sure the garden has full sun exposure so the vegetables can grow to their full potential.
Great care should be taken to ensure that the root vegetables have adequate space between them to grow and be meticulous in their upkeep. After the initial planting, a person will need to go back and adjust the plant’s spacing to ensure they grow properly. Root vegetables need to be spaced 2 to 4 inches apart save for potatoes which will need more space for growing.
How to Cook Root Vegetables
There are a lot of ways to cook root vegetables. One way to cook root vegetables is to grill them. Now everyone loves a good barbeque, but do not forget to make sure to cook up some root veggies, like onions and carrots. Roasting root vegetables over an open fire or on a barbeque is another good way to cook them, like roasting potatoes.
Another way to cook root vegetables is to bake them, like a baked potato or sweet potato. Stews can be made from a variety of root vegetables which can be enjoyed year-round. Mashing is another great way to cook root vegetables like mashed potatoes, beets, etc. Frying root vegetables is a good idea as well; because everyone likes French fries.
List of Root Vegetables
- Jerusalem Artichoke
- Sweet Potato
Root Vegetables and Their Benefits
Beetroots are good for the human; because they are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties as well. Beets have nitrates in them which are good for keeping the elasticity of blood vessels and are suggested to help improve endurance while either walking or running.
Carrots have carotenoids a fat-soluble antioxidant pigment that has the potential to protect cells and tissues from free radical damage. These orange vegetables can enhance the immune system, protect the body against sunburn and potentially lower the risk of cancer.
Celeriac contains Vitamin C and Vitamin K for healthy bones. It also contains potassium which will ensure one maintains normal blood pressure.
Jerusalem artichokes might not look that good but is a source of inulin a fiber that promotes good gut health. Inulin also helps balance blood fats and ensures optimum levels of good glucose and insulin.
Swedes are a good source of protein and fiber and are low in calories. This vegetable has a host of good chemicals that research suggests will be able to reduce the proliferation of cancer cells.
Radishes have glucoraphanin that has anti-cancer properties. Japanese daikon radishes can help improve blood vessel elasticity and moderates blood pressure according to studies.
Parsnips have high fiber content and a great source of folate which is needed for a healthy brain and nervous system. Folate is also good for helping DNA synthesis and the red blood cells erythrocytes.
Potatoes are a good source of fiber, iron, Vitamin C, folate, and Vitamin B. They have potassium which will help keep blood pressure normal and the bones in the body healthy. Potatoes skin contains chemicals that restrain oxidative stress and inflammation. Eating cold boiled potatoes will increase resistant starch which will help promote good gut health.
Sweet potatoes when boiled have a low glycaemic index which measures the effect of foods on blood glucose. They are a good source of polyphenols and other plant chemicals, like antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties. It is better to boil sweet potatoes rather than bake them because it will push up GI levels.
Turnips are high in fiber which is needed for good gut health. They also contain glucosinolates which are good for their antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-cancer activity.