Skirret – the forgotten root vegetable

Skirret, the forgotten root vegetable, is a plant I’ve started growing  in my garden these last few years that was a primary  root crop of the middle ages that later got replaced by the potato.  It is also known as ‘the forgotten root’ . The Germans often referred to it as ‘the sweet root’.  and the word skirret comes from an old English word that meant ‘white root’.  It was a favorite of  the Roman Emperor Tiberius, who lived from 42 BC to 37 AD and was  the  second roman emperor for the last 33 years of his life. Another time when skirrets were very popular was during the Tudor period 1485-1603AD during which time Great Britain had some of its best economically  healthy, expansive and optimistic years of its existence.

This small sweet root  can be used interchangeably with  carrots , parsnips and  potatoes.  There is no need to peel it.  The best time to harvest it is in the early fall right around the time of the first frost.  It can remain growing for several years and if you cut off some of the roots but not all you can then put it back  in the soil again  for it to grow more for the next years.  It can be harvested annually They are very hardy plants and can grow in temperatures down to  -30F.

Skirrets are very healthy plants to include in ones diet for several reasons.  One way is with the good amount of Vitamin A it provides it can be very good for ones vision. This vitamin protects the outer membrane and surface of the eye, helps prevent viruses and bacteria,   can reduce dry eyes while protecting the cornea and helps prevent vision loss
In addition to having a good amount of Vitamin A, skirrets also are a great source of vitamin C, which can greatly help  keep one’s skin in good shape and prevent it from losing color, which often happens as one ages. So it  offers many anti aging benefits and helps preserve one’s youthful appearance.

Historically skirret  has been recommended in folk medicine for  helping soothe indigestion. Bloating and constipation  skirret can help get rid of, and it has also been good at preventing loss of appetite.

Folate is a B vitamin that is very important to have especially in the diet of a pregnant woman,  or one trying to get pregnant,  for it helps prevent defects  in developing babies and helps make sure the brain and spinal chord form properly.  Skirret, the forgotten root vegetable,  is an excellent source of folate.

In Skirret there are many antioxidants that help prevent all sorts of diseases and there are many natural sugars and B vitamins, like niacin and riboflavin, that help give the body more physical and mental stamina and help convert the carbohydrates into  energy  giving fuel.

Another form of nutrition supplied quite nicely in skirret, is vitamin E that is excellent for creating healthy hair and scalps.  Vitamin E helps prevent hair loss and  encourages a nice healthy shine to ones hair.

Zinc is something else that skirret supplies nicely  that helps reduce inflammation and pains.  It is great for people with arthritis and it can greatly diminish the time of infections or the common cold.


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