Salsify, Fiore Blu (Organic)
Yet another delicious root crop common in Europe but rarely grown here in the US. Hopefully we can change that as salsify has much to offer! Roots grow to the size and shape of imperator type carrots but are cream colored. Flavor is said to resemble oysters, in fact salsify is also known as “oyster plant.” We find this variety to have a good mild flavor, making it very versatile in the kitchen. Young roots can be eaten raw and grated in salads. Full-sized roots are best cooked. Flowering shoots can be eaten like asparagus, and flowers can be eaten whole or used as garnish. Unharvested roots bloom with vibrant purple flowers in the second year; salsify has been planted for its showy flowers alone. Used medicinally for liver and gall bladder support. Produces best when direct sown April through May. Hardy to zone 5, this variety contributed to the diversity of our winter CSA and we highly recommend it for the winter garden. Self-seeds freely if allowed to flower, which to us, isn’t a bad thing.
Direct sow April through late June. Sow several seeds every 4-6” in rows 12” apart. When seedlings are 3” tall, thin to 1 plant from each cluster. Harvest after frost. A great choice for winter gardens in our area.
Collect seeds from at least 10 plants in their second year. Cut individual flowers every few days when seeds are dry with dandelion-like fluff. Remove seeds by hand. Winnow to clean. Isolate from other salsify by ¼ mile.