A very popular vegetable in Victorian times us Brits seemed to fall out of love with Salsify which may have something to do with its tough skin and slender stems. It is a little tricky to prepare but we think well worth the trouble. Top tip: A sharp potato peeler is going to be helpful here. We used to grow a variety of salsify here on the farm called scorzerona but the crop failed during a really hot summer and due to its lull in popularity we did not replace. This comes from our wholesale supplier.

Salsify, also known as the oyster plant or vegetable oyster due to its subtle oyster-like flavour, is a root vegetable that belongs to the sunflower family. It has a long, slender shape with a rough, dark skin that needs to be peeled before consumption. There is also a lighter skin variety available which has more slender stems so the darker fleshier variety is favoured. The flesh of salsify is creamy white and has a delicate taste that is often compared to artichokes or asparagus.

Nutrition Packed black salsify contains as much potassium as bananas. It’s also rich in protein, iron and copper, so has plenty of health benefits.


To prepare salsify, start by peeling the skin off the root under running water to prevent discolouration. If you are not going to cook with it straight away keep in a bowl of cold water with a little white vinegar or lemon juice. It does discolour very easily but this is less visible once its cooked so don’t let that put you off.

Once peeled, salsify can be boiled, steamed, roasted, or sautéed. It can be used in a variety of dishes, such as soups, stews, gratins, and even as a standalone side dish. Salsify pairs well with flavours like butter, garlic, herbs, and lemon, enhancing its subtle taste. Its versatility allows for both simple preparations and more complex culinary creations, making it a unique and interesting addition to your meals.

Here are 10 ideas to cook with Salsify

  1. Roasted Salsify: Peel and chop salsify into sticks, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast in the oven until golden and crispy.
  2. Salsify Puree: Boil salsify until soft, then blend with butter, cream, and seasonings to create a smooth and creamy puree.
  3. Salsify Fritters: Grate salsify and mix with flour, eggs, herbs, and spices to make a batter, then fry spoonfuls until crispy.
  4. Salsify Soup: Cook salsify with onions, garlic, broth, and herbs, then blend until smooth to make a comforting soup.
  5. Salsify Gratin: Layer sliced salsify with cream, cheese, and breadcrumbs, then bake until bubbly and golden brown.
  6. Salsify Stir-Fry: Stir-fry salsify with other vegetables, protein, and oyster sauce for a quick and tasty meal.
  7. Salsify Chips: Thinly slice salsify, toss with olive oil and seasonings, then bake until crispy for a healthy snack.
  8. Salsify Salad: Shave raw salsify into thin strips and toss with a vinaigrette, nuts, and cheese for a refreshing salad.
  9. Salsify Hash Browns: Grate salsify and mix with eggs, flour, and seasonings, then pan-fry until crispy for a twist on classic hash browns.
  10. Salsify Risotto: Cook salsify with Arborio rice, broth, wine, and Parmesan cheese to create a creamy and flavoruful risotto dish.

Enjoy experimenting with this unique and delicious vegetable!

Salsify Crumpets from BBC Good Food

Salsify recipes from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall for the Guardian