Root vegetables have been a popular food for centuries. This is due to their long growing season, long shelf life, and ability to nourish the soil as well as people. These qualities make them the perfect food for our Canadian climate. Root vegetables are high in fibre and contain many important nutrients. They are very versatile and can be used in several recipes – even desserts! Affordable and locally grown, root vegetables have so much to offer.
Every year the Community Food Advisors (CFA) volunteers show new ways to prepare locally grown produce at many of Ottawa’s local markets. They also provide the public with information about healthy eating and food safety. This year the CFAs will be demonstrating new ways to prepare three root vegetables: beets, carrots and rutabaga.
Beets are known by the unique dark red and purple colour of the root, yet, the green leaves can be eaten too! Ontario grown beets are available almost all year long (except for May and June). They come in a variety of colours ranging from red and golden yellow to pink and white stripped. Store beet roots in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and the leaves for 3 to 5 days. At the markets, CFAs will be showing how to make this colourful vegetable into a Beet Hummus.
Carrots are one of the most well-known root vegetables. They contain plenty of beta-carotene, which gives them their bright orange colour. Ontario grown carrots are available almost all year long (except for June). Most of the nutrients in carrots are found just below the skin. Instead of peeling them, rinse and scrub with a vegetable brush to enjoy all the nutrients they have to offer. Store carrots in your refrigerator crisper for 3 to 4 weeks. This year, CFAs will be offering samples of a Creamy Carrot Soup that can be served either hot or cold!
Rutabaga is known for being well-suited for northern climates. That’s why Ontario grown rutabaga is available all year long! Rutabagas have a brownish peel that is usually covered with a wax coating to help keep them fresh longer. Store rutabaga in either a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator. At the markets, CFAs will be showing how this root vegetable can be made into a dessert! They will be offering samples of a Rutabaga Spice Cake.
Join CFA volunteers this summer to rediscover your roots and taste delicious new recipes! Visit our website for information on market dates and locations.