Root vegetables are in season in Manitoba right now, and we’re lucky to have several varieties available. Many people seem to be a bit intimidated by them though – the thick skins common on the earthy veggies can be a bit off-putting. Don’t let the dirt dissuade you! Root vegetables are quite nutrient-dense, and after a good scrub they’re very versatile and delicious. Lots of the nutrients are in the skin though, so while peeling them is tempting, try to leave the skin intact. Most store well, too, making them a great pantry staple to keep on hand.
Carrots are likely one of the first root veggies that come to mind. Did you know that there are different colours of carrots? Not just shades of orange, but also yellow and even purple! They’re a great source of beta carotene.
Rutabagas and turnips are often confused and used interchangeably, but there are different types. Turnips are white and purple, whereas rutabagas, a hybrid of turnips and cabbage, tend to be yellow with a more slight purple tint at the top. Rutabagas also tend to be larger and tougher. But both are a great source of vitamin C, and make a great low-starch alternative to potatoes.
Parsnips aren’t just cream-coloured carrots, and they aren’t a parsley-turnip hybrid! They’re a sweeter option, rich in potassium and fibre, and contain antioxidants.
Beets are definitely worth the risk of red-stained hands, and don’t throw away the greens! The root is a great source of folate/folic acids, and the greens are a great source of vitamins A and C, fibre, iron, and more.
Radishes are a low-calorie source of vitamin C, and their crunchy texture makes for a great addition to salads.
Potatoes are of course very popular in Manitoba, with red, Russet, Yukon, and baby potatoes all available. While they are delicious and versatile (and a good source of potassium and vitamin C), be sure to count them more as a starch/carb then veggie, and leave the skin on to get some fibre!
Honorary mention – garlic and onions fall under the “bulb” family. Garlic is linked to health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, containing antioxidants, and lowering blood pressure, and onions are rich in fibre and vitamin C. Of course, their primary benefit is how great of an addition they make to nearly every savoury dish!
Make sure to check out Peak of the Market’s recipe search for a ton of great meal ideas!