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What is black carrot and how to eat it

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This Mediterranean beauty is black as night and tasty as sweet radish. She is a relative of an orange carrot and at the same time differs from her in both taste and color. Meet the black carrot - the queen of the fields of Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt!

What is black carrot?

Scorzonera, which is the correct name for the black root vegetable, is not a new sort of ordinary carrot. This culture was grown in the eastern Mediterranean as early as the 16th century for medicinal and culinary purposes. Today it can be found in many eastern countries. In Russia, gardeners practically do not grow it, perhaps, simply because of the lack of information about proper cultivation.

Black carrot closeup

The stems of the scorzonera are dark green in color, up to 70 cm in height, the leaves are ovate or lanceolate. The inflorescences appear in May, they have a bright yellow shade and exude a pleasant smell of vanilla. Cylindrical root outside the black color, inside it is white, tender. The length of the fruit is usually about 15 cm, width - 5 cm, weight - up to 150-200 grams. It appears on the first year after landing. Very well stored in the ground, to protect from the cold enough to mulch dry grass or sawdust.

Peduncles and seeds are formed only in the second year, so black carrots are mainly planted for just such an amount of time.

Types and varieties of plants

The best option to see all the variety of scoroner varieties is to go to a specialty store in Turkey. Here are the seeds of "Spanish black", "Black Knight", "Lilac dragon" and Pusa Asita, they are great for growing in greenhouses. If you do not have the opportunity to visit the eastern country, pay attention to the varieties that have already taken root in the Russian summer cottages:

Black carrot fruits on a plate
  • Overseas Delicacy - mid-season with a slightly raised rosette, reaching a height of 17 cm. The cylindrical root crop is painted in a dark brown color. Its length does not exceed 35 cm, weight - 130 grams.
  • Medical - medium-early variety. It has elongated ovate leaves and long roots. Root crop of conical shape, weighing up to 80 grams. Its white flesh is sweet to the taste.
  • Solar premiere - an early variety with a vertical rosette made up of elongated ovoid leaves. The root crop has a dark brown color, light weight (up to 80 grams) and a sufficient length (up to 32 cm). The yield is usually 1.5-2 kg per 1 sq. Km. meter
  • Roma - dietary two-year grade. Root - black, cylindrical, up to 30 cm in length. Its pulp contains a large amount of milky juice, which is very useful for diabetics.

Seeds of any of the described varieties can be ordered by mail, if suddenly in your city they are not in the store. Cost - from 15 rubles for a bag.

On the back of a bag of black carrot seeds is usually indicated how to grow it.

The benefits and harm of the root

Vegetable is rich in vitamins of group B and C, iron, calcium and other trace elements. It contains inulin, which affects the level of cholesterol in the blood, as well as a number of biologically active components that improve the functioning of the heart, stomach, intestines and kidneys. Therefore, it is very often used for the production of medicines.

Scorzonera has no contraindications. But in any case, when you first use the root, you should be careful, as you can identify individual intolerance. Also in some cases, the root vegetable is able to produce a slight laxative effect.

Medicinal properties

Due to the fact that Scorzonera is rich in vitamins and minerals, it is often used to treat various diseases. Doctors recommend to use it in the fight against obesity, diabetes, influenza viruses and acute respiratory viral infections, vitamin deficiency and anemia. But it also contributes to lowering blood pressure, improving visual acuity (several times better than a normal root crop), removing various inflammations in the body.

Harvest black carrots
In the Middle Ages in the Mediterranean countries, black carrots were used to create antidotes for venomous snake bites, including vipers.

Cooking Application

At first glance, it is impossible to use scorconera. In appearance, it is very similar to the thick, straight root of any plant, for example, mandrake, or even to the usual slightly burnt stick. But this opinion changes as soon as the skin is removed. The flesh of the black carrot is white and very juicy, it smells like vanilla. It tastes like a sweet radish, or asparagus. It can be added to any soups, salads, main dishes.

They cook it differently: if they add it to the soup, they wash it and, after pouring it with hot water, peel it off, then cut it and throw it into the pan. If prepared for salad, do the same thing, only then boil for 20-30 minutes in salted water. However, the root can be eaten raw. To do this, it is enough to clean it, chop and fill with vegetable oil.

Thanks to its peculiar taste, Scorzonera is perfectly combined with meat, fish, orange carrots, beetroot, cabbage and many other products. Able to give a special flavor to soups and sauces, and the color - marmalade and jelly, which, after adding its juice, acquire a rich purple color. In general, black carrots can be used in the same way as regular orange ones. But what exactly the cooks themselves can do with it, that is, you.

Black carrot sprouts

Conclusion

Scorzonera is still little known in Russiabut it needs to be fixed. Indeed, despite its peculiar appearance, color, and a bit whimsical character, it deserves to take a worthy place on our tables along with orange carrots. Do not forget about the benefits. This type is much more valuable than its "brother", if only because it is the only natural source in the world of a substance that is very useful for the eyes - inulin.

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