As the weather turns chilly and the darker days are upon us, it's natural to find comfort in rooting down. Comfort in hibernating. Cozying up with a book and warm cups of tea and eating nourishing soups and stews. Root vegetables and tubers are my favourite this time of year, as they provide us with essential nutrients needed to connect us with the earth and there are a variety of ways in which we can use root vegetables throughout the cooler months.
You may be familiar with the idea that we should be eating foods that are seasonal and local to you. It's a bonus if you can support local farmers at the same time. From garlic to carrots, radishes, sweet potatoes, ginger, parsnips and many more, each root vegetable offers a unique addition to our plate and overall well-being.
For example, ginger has been used for centuries to aid in digestion, stimulate circulation, ease nausea and reduce inflammation. Available as a ground spice, perhaps already in your spice rack, try adding fresh grated ginger to your soup or smoothie.
Garlic has a positive effect on the immune system, digestive system, cardiovascular system and aids in detoxification. Chopping or mincing fresh garlic and letting it sit for about 10 minutes releases the enzyme known as allicin providing stronger antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Sweet potatoes are great for balancing blood sugar levels (hello holiday treat cravings), reducing inflammation and providing us with antioxidant protection. They can be used anywhere you would normally use potatoes with some added nutritional benefits.
Hearty root vegetables are versatile, they can be the main ingredient or offer a supporting role in many dishes including soups, pastas, stews and work diced as toppings in rice power bowls and even on pizza.
Roasting, boiling, steaming, sauteing, fermenting or pickling are all ways to prepare root vegetables.
A simple yellow curry can be prepared quickly with grated ginger, minced garlic, powdered turmeric and chopped sweet potatoes in a coconut cream sauce bringing warmth and vitality into the body. Try adding carrots or squash, onions and other vegetables you may have on hand.
Sipping on hot ginger tea, turmeric lattes, or sprinkling ground powders into savory sauces can add some zest to your meal and still deliver health benefits throughout the chilly fall and winter months. Explore the range of root vegetables available to you this time of year.