Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolium) is a herbaceous plant in the asteraceae family, native to Europe. It consists of very narrow leaves with a pointed end, and yellow or purple flowers in the shape of a crown, the flower head of which opens (for most species) only in the morning when the weather is sunny. If there are several wild varieties, salsify is best known for its cultivated specimen, much appreciated for its roots, eaten cooked, or for its young shoots, eaten in salads. The wild salsify flourishes around the Mediterranean.
This vegetable plant, also appreciated in beds, is sown between March and May. Each seed must be separated by at least 25 centimeters from its neighbor, so that the plants have the space necessary for their development. Flowering takes place between May and August, and it is possible to uproot the roots between October and March. Be careful, the salsify takes up a lot of space in the vegetable patch.
The salsify resists frost very well, it is found up to 2,000 meters above sea level, but however requires mulching during the winter. Pruning must be carried out before frost, it is necessary to cut the leaves of the salsify to promote its growth. Salsify, which can grow to 70 centimeters in height, needs humus soil and lots of sun.
Salsify enemies and diseases
Salsify is resistant, it has the advantage of being insensitive to diseases and not being the preferred target of pests. However, slugs can attack them. To attract them, a small bowl of beer will deflect their way. Powdery mildew and rust sometimes appear. Nettle manure will be applied as a preventive natural treatment.
Salsify in the kitchen
Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads. The roots of salsify, with a slightly sweet taste, are eaten cooked in various ways accompanying certain dishes such as stew. Nowadays, real salsify is practically no longer cultivated. The salsify of the markets is always the scorsoner with the black root.
Virtues of salsify
Salsify is rich in vitamins E and B. It contains potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper and zinc. It contributes to intestinal well-being and to the maintenance of the immune system.