Buying and storing
Beetroots: Beetroots are available all year round with the peak season being early winter to late spring. Beetroot bulbs can be stored in the crisper section of the fridge for up to two weeks. The leaves can be stored and used within three days.
Carrots: Carrots are available year round. Store in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge for up to one week. Don’t store near apples, as the ethylene gas emitted by apples gives carrots a bitter taste. Remove the tops of baby (Dutch) carrots before storing.
Parsnips: Available all year, parsnips are at their best from April to October. Look for medium-sized varieties; larger parsnips will have a woodier, inedible core. Store in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge for up to one week.
Turnips: Store in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge for up to one week.
Swedes: Store in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge for up to three weeks.
Sweet potatoes: Store in a cool, dark, dry and well-ventilated area for up to three weeks.
Celeriac: Celeriac can become hollow and stringy with age, so choose those that are firm and heavy for their size (this indicates a solid centre). Store in the fridge for up to one week.
Radish: Cut off the leaves and store in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge for up to one week.
Tips & facts
- Radishes are believed to possess medicinal properties, and have been used as an alternative treatment for whooping cough, gastric problems, kidney stones and liver ailments.
- The famous Scottish dish, bashed neeps, is made of boiled swedes mashed with butter. It is a traditional accompaniment to haggis.
- Beetroot evolved from wild seabeet, native to coastlines from India to Britain. Beetroot originally had a carrot-shaped root and only the leaves were eaten (the small root was used for medicinal purposes by ancient Greeks and Romans).
- Celeriac is derived from wild celery, which has a small, edible root and has been used in Europe since ancient times (it is mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey as ‘selinon’).
- The New Zealand Maori gave the orange sweet potato we know as kumara its name.