Rare Root Vegetables

Many vegetables popular in bygone days are now almost forgotten, such as Chervil Root. I’ve never seen it, let alone tasted it, but by all accounts it is delicious. Unfortunately, it is difficult to grow and seeds have an extremely short period of viability. Maybe that is why it was abandoned by growers. I’ve been looking far and wide for seeds, but to no avail. I’m hoping to source some internationally, but I’m going to wait until we get close to planting time in fall to make sure they are still viable.

Other vegetables never spread beyond their local origins: I encountered a couple of remarkable roots from the Andes at our recent visit to Oregon, that I’d never heard of before.

220px-OcaRed Oca is a very crunchy, juicy, and sweet tuber. It makes an excellent addition to salads. Wikipedia says it is high in oxalic acids, but apparently that has been much reduced in modern varieties – I did not notice much acidity at all.




yacontuber Yacon is related to sunflowers and Jerusalem Artichokes. Taste and texture reminded me most of Jicama. It is crunchy and only slightly sweet. Apparently yields are prolific, but it is not as invasive as Jerusalem Artichoke. Like J-choke, it contains inulin – I’m happy to say though, that I experienced none of the, um, emissions problem that J-chokes are prone to induce.



We’re looking forward to growing both Oca and Yacon in our garden this year. Hopefully, my quest for Chervil root will also be successful.

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