Skirret – Year 1 progress and harvest




Last autumn (I think) I planted a skirret root purchased from Backyard Larder which is a great resource for perennial vegetable sales and information.

It grew very happily this year with minimal intervention. It didn’t really spread and was well contained as a single clump. It flowered and set seed before it started to die back and I had a go at harvesting some. Some sources I found said to harvest at this point whereas others say to harvest in winter. Presumably a later harvest may allow some slightly larger roots to develop but I suppose once the plant is dying back then the amount of energy being diverted to the roots will also decline?



I wasn’t expecting much from this first year of growth and was fully prepared to bury the plant again if nothing much was there, so I was pleasantly surprised to pull up a decent bunch of pale finger-like roots.


I was able to pull the plant apart into two halves, picking one half to harvest from and one half to replant. I need to do some more research and see how well the plants cope and regrow from the harvest to see if I could take a higher proportion of roots in future. I pulled off the roots which would make a decent mouthful and replanted the other little root segments near the parent plant so I can remember what it is if it regrows.



In the kitchen I cleaned the roots as best as I could and then boiled them for just a few minutes. As the books had said, the starchy goodness burst through the skin with minimal cooking, and it was apparent the roots had a narrow woody core running through them. Mum and I enjoyed a few by pulling the soft flesh off this central core which we discarded. It had a definitely parsnip-y taste which was some what earthy (from the skin I think- they might benefit from light peeling or better washing…).


So a small but tasty success. Here’s hoping that I can steadily increase my stocks for a larger harvest in future to be used in casseroles and stews, if the plant decides to regrow next year that is! Watch this space.


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