[Sca-cooks] skerrits?

K C Francis katiracook at hotmail.com
Thu Oct 25 15:09:53 PDT 2007

> > OED lists skirret --* A perennial umbelliferous plant, /Sium > > sisarum/, a> > species of water parsnip, formerly much cultivated in Europe for its> > esculent tubers; the root of this plant. In one or two 15th cent.> > glossaries /skyrwyt/ renders L. /eruca/, prob. in error.
At:  http://www.suffolkherbs.com/kolist/1/CHINESE++ORIENTAL/ROOT+VEGETABLES/0/CH30.htm
I found:

 SKIRRET (Sium sisarum)The skirret is a native of China and is certainly an ancient vegetable. The plant produces a ëbundleí of swollen edible roots which are tender and sweet and floury. Use in the same way as Salsify. 

WHEN TO SOWMarch to May.WHERE TO SOWDirect into a seed bed.  Best in soil suitable for carrots.WHAT TO DO NEXTAs soon as seedlings are large enough to handle, thin out to 20cm apart.HARVESTFrom September onwards.
At:  http://www.amishlandseeds.com/rare_seeds.htm
I found:
 SKIRRET - Siumsisarum These are very rare and hard to find seeds. I am very proud to be offering it. The name (sium) is from the Celtic siu (water), referring to their wet habitat. Skirret is derived from the Dutch "suikerwortel," meaning "sugar root." It is also known as "skirwort." It is a vegetable grown for its sweet, edible roots. This member of the carrot and parsley family (Umbelliferae) originated in the Far East. It is still used widely in China and Japan, but is a very minor crop in the United States. Has a taste superior to Carrots, not unlike parsnips. The roots are white inside and the flowers are white, too. Emperor Tiberius liked it so much that it is said he demanded it as a tribute from the Germans who had evidently introduced the plant from China. Skirret or Water Parsnip, was once popular in the American colonies, but is rarely grown now. If you enjoy Hamburg Root Parsley and Salsify, you should try Skirret. It is grown for its numerous, swollen, fleshy roots, which look a lot like skinny Dahlia tubers. Sweet, white , and pleasant tasting roots are often cooked like Salsify or Scorzonera ( Black Salsify-May be tricky to grow from seed, although I had no trouble at all . I would advise starting it indoors in peat pots 8-10 weeks before before putting out . Plants grow to 5 feet tall, with very ornamental, lacy white flowers, not unlike Queen Ann's lace, see photo. 20 very tiny fresh organically grown seeds.
At:  http://www.edirectory.co.uk/chilternseeds/pages/moreinfo.asp?pe=DBFAABFFQ_+skirret+b+heirloom+variety+b&cid=211  
I found:

Search Criteria:



Family Name:

Sium sisarum

Seed Catalogue No.:

English Name:
Skirret seeds

Although this vegetable hardly ever even receives a mention in modern gardening literature, the Emperor Tiberius liked it so much that it is said he demanded it as a tribute from the Germans who had evidently introduced the plant from China. It is grown for its numerous, swollen, fleshy roots, formed in bundles just below ground level, and having the appearance of long, slender Dahlia tubers. These were once much esteemed as amongst the sweetest, whitest and most pleasant of roots when used in the manner of Salsify or Scorzonera. Simply sow ½ in. deep in drills and thin out to 6 or 8 ins. apart.
I tried to grow skirrets a ways back but that year germinating seeds in the ground wasn't optimal and most of my 5 different color carrots also didn't grow.
If anyone has grown them or purchased any to cook, I'd love to hear about it.

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