Prices for food are going up this year, especially for fresh imported fruits and vegetables. But do we really need them to stay healthy?
Besides being heavy on our wallet, off-season vegetables do not taste that good. “Foods that are chilled and shipped lose flavour at every step of the way – chilling cuts their flavour, transport cuts their flavour, being held in warehouses cuts their flavour,” explains Susan Herrmann Loomis, owner of On Rue Tatin Cooking School in France. Along with the flavour, precious nutrients are lost too.
Roots are the different story. Very much like seeds, roots are designed by nature to store nutrients and energy until the next season to support a new growth in spring. Yes, roots are more starchy than vegetables, but, unlike off season vegetables, they are packed with all spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and even antioxidants. Do you know that humble jacket potato holds more potassium, than banana, more vitamin C than avocado, and more selenium, than seeds and nuts? But you don’t have to stick solely to potatoes. There is a great variety of roots available to make our winter diet full and diverse.
Try this recipe. You cannot get a much simpler one. It may be a complete meal, or a colourful side dish for meat or poultry:
Take equal amount of of potato, carrot and parsnip. Do not peel roots, wash and brush them instead. It will save your time and preserve taste and nutrients. Dry your roots with paper towel (this is very important, as excess water would make them cooked, not roasted). Slice roots, put them in a deep baking pan and sprinkle generously with fat or oil. My favourite is clarified butter (ghee)- it adds amazing nutty flavour. But you can use lard or goose fat instead. If you are still avoiding saturated fats, use high heat cooking oil like avocado oil. Sprinkle salt, black pepper and curry (spices are a matter of taste. You can use Club House “La Grille” for vegetables, or just salt and black pepper). Rub fat and spices with your hands into roots until all the pieces are uniformly covered. Place in a preheated oven and bake not covered for about 45 minutes at 375F, or until all the roots are cooked through. You would need to carefully turn the roots over a couple of times during baking to prevent sticking to the bottom, so do not overload your pan.