The Forgotten Vegetables. A Top 20!
Forgotten vegetables are literally vegetables that we have forgotten. In the past, it was common to eat this vegetable, but today our diet has changed and we no longer eat these vegetables.
Most of these vegetables are still grown and sold. You can find them in vegetable specialty stores or an organic store. If it’s not on the shelves, you can at least order it there. Preparing for the meal is then another thing, because most cookbooks do not describe these vegetables.
We have made a list of forgotten vegetables. It has become a top 20. We briefly describe where the vegetable comes from and what you can do with it. Let’s start with the overview.
The horseradish has many names such as pepper radish, peasant radish and meiredi. It is a plant with white flowers that bloom at the end of May. The plant has long stems with large leaves.
The root of this plant is edible and is known for its medicinal properties against urinary problems.
The taste of horseradish resembles mustard and radish and is very pungent. Horseradish is used in sauces. To do this, peel the carrot and grate it. You can also add it grated to a salad for a tangy flavor.
When you buy a carrot, it should feel firm. After purchase, you can store the horseradish in the refrigerator for about a week.
2. Teltower turnip
This turnip, the Teltower turnip, is related to the May turnips which are discussed further on. They are small yellow balls with green foliage. The balls are edible and have a soft mild taste.
The Teltower turnip is difficult to obtain in the Netherlands, sometimes you can find them at specialty stores. When purchased, the tuber must be firm and after purchase you can store them in the refrigerator for a week.
The turnip is cooked, releasing the soft mild taste. You can use them in your soup, stir-fry with several vegetables or make a tasty stew.
3. Jerusalem artichoke
The Jerusalem artichoke originates from Africa, but is also doing well in the Netherlands. Crooked to the ground, the plant has very long stems and the tuberous tuber grows under the ground, it is capricious in shape. The tuber is edible, the foliage is not.
The tuber looks a bit like a ginger root and has a size of about 10 by 5 centimeters.
The Jerusalem artichoke can be eaten raw, it is then nice and crunchy and again has a radish-like / nutty taste. Sometimes the taste resembles that of an artichoke.
By cooking the Jerusalem artichoke, the taste becomes softer and milder and it resembles a potato. You can use it for a soup, use it in an oven dish and stir fry with other vegetables.
The tomatillo or also Mexican Earthcress is a vegetable of the nightshade family. More information about nightshade vegetables can be found in our blog about it.
The fruit is hard to find in the Netherlands today. The taste resembles an unripe tomato, namely sour but still fresh, sometimes sweet and tomato-like. You can eat the fruit raw but also prepared like a tomato.
This fruit can be found in Mexican salsa, Salsa Verde with green peppers. You can also use them in soup and salads.
5. Evening Primrose
There are about 125 species and variants of the evening primrose. The plant originates from Mexico. Much of the evening primrose can be used such as the seeds for oil and the tubers for eating. You can also eat the flowers.
Evening primrose is also called vegetable ham. The tuber has a soft pink color and the taste resembles that of ham. However, it is not a meat substitute! You can also cook the tuber.
The leaves of the evening primrose can be used in stews and the flowers can be used in a salad.
The next vegetable in the list of forgotten vegetables is Swiss chard. The leaf of the Swiss chard and the stems are edible. The stems can be of different colors.
The taste of the Swiss chard resembles that of spinach and is earthy. Unlike many other forgotten vegetables, you can regularly encounter this vegetable in the supermarket. The greengrocer certainly has the Swiss chard at home.
You can add chard uncooked to a salad. You can stir-fry and stir-fry the chard well. And of course to use as a substitute for spinach. If you want to do more with chard, read our blog about preparing chard with different recipes.
7. Palm cabbage
Palm cabbage is a biennial, hardy leaf crop. It is called palm cabbage because the leaves grow like a palm tree. The plant itself can reach a height of 3 meters. The palm cabbage comes from Tuscany and is widely eaten in Italy. The plant also does very well in Dutch soil.
The taste of palm cabbage is almost the same as that of kale. It is also often used as a substitute for kale.
You can boil the leaf and use it for stir-frying. You can actually use it just like kale. With firm leaves it is best to remove the veins, these are then tough.
8. Chioggia Beet
The chioggia beet originates from Italy, from the city of Chioggia. There, the beet was the first to be grown and eaten. It is an old crop and the beet can be recognized by the beautiful drawing when the beet has been cut.
The taste of the chioggia beet is softly sweet, slightly sweeter than the regular beet. Because of its beautiful pattern, the beet is often eaten raw in salads, for example. When you boil the beet the beautiful drawing disappears. You can prepare the Chioggia beets like you prepare regular beets.
9. Parsley Root
Next in the list of forgotten vegetables is the parsley root. The parsley root is related to the parsley and is grown for its root. The root can grow up to 15 centimeters long.
It resembles a small parsnip and the taste also resembles that of a parsnip.
The parsley root can be boiled and steamed. The carrot is often served in soup and stews and because of the low carbohydrate content, they are also used as a substitute for potatoes.
10. Blue Potato
There are several blue potatoes; Only with a blue skin, with a blue skin and blue inside and then there are differences in cooking. Some potatoes lose their color during cooking, others don’t.
The taste of the blue potato is slightly nutty. You can also prepare the blue potato in the same way as any potato. They are only much more expensive because they are harvested by hand.
Even though you see the parsnip more regularly now, it is really a forgotten vegetable. It originally grew in the Mediterranean area. It was one of the most popular vegetables during the Middle Ages before the potato.
The root is about 20 centimeters long and has a sweet aniseed taste. If the carrot has experienced night frost, the taste is even sweeter.
You can eat parsnips raw, boiled or stewed. Think of autumn salads, stew and soups. It is a real winter vegetable in the Netherlands.
12. Good Hendrik
This is a very old crop whose leaves are eaten just like spinach. The vegetable was introduced to the Netherlands by the Romans a long time ago.
It is a ‘wild’ vegetable that used to be harvested all around the farm. Much of the Brave Hendrik can be eaten like the leaves, the flower shoots are prepared like asparagus and the flower buds can be prepared like small broccoli.
You can eat the leaves raw in a salad, it is delicious in soup or stir-fry with other vegetables.
13. Oat Root
The oat root is also called the purple morning star because the flower one of this plant resembles a purple star. It is a very old plant that was also established in the Netherlands.
Both the root and the leaves are edible. The leaves can be used in a salad or prepared like spinach. We call the root oat root. This root has a sweet taste and is peeled underwater. This is because a sticky substance is released during peeling. That’s why it’s also called “kitchen maid sadness.”
Boiling or stewing is the best preparation method for the oat root.
As indicated earlier with the Teltower turnip, this family belongs to the turnips. However, the turnips have a purple-white bulb. The turnip got its name because it is harvested in the spring, in May.
The fresh turnip should also feel firm again and should have green foliage. You can eat not only the bulb, but also the foliage.
The turnip has a sharp radish-like taste. Once cooked, the taste is softer and milder. The taste therefore resembles potato. And this is the reason we no longer eat the turnip. He has been replaced by the potato.
The salsify was eaten a lot in the Netherlands before the second world war. But not after the war. This is probably because cleaning is a chore. Like the oat root, a sticky substance is released. So you peel underwater.
After peeling, the salsify browns very quickly. They can also discolour during cooking and a dash of vinegar or lemon juice will prevent this. Cut them into small pieces before cooking.
The taste is very mild and is compared to asparagus. It used to be called ‘poor man’s asparagus’.
16. Sea kale
Next in the list of forgotten vegetables is the sea kale. As the name suggests, it occurs in the coastal regions. The old leaves are bitter and inedible. The edible part of this plant are the young white shoots.
These young shoots are a delicacy today. They have a light cabbage flavor and because they grow on the coast they are slightly salty.
The young shoots can be eaten raw in a salad. In addition, they are tied together and cooked. You can also stir-fry and stir-fry them. So many possibilities.
17. Chervil tuber
This vegetable is also sometimes called chervil or tuberous rib seed. The plant has a tuberous stem under the cotyledons. It is still cultivated on a small scale in the Netherlands.
The chervil tuber is related to the parsnip and the carrot. This tuber used to be widely eaten but lost its popularity with the arrival of the potato. It has a nutty flavor very similar to chestnuts. Eating raw is not an option, cook it before eating this vegetable.
As you would probably expect, this plant grows on beaches, dunes and other places near salt water. This plant is common in Zeeland today.
The leaves are small and scale-like, soft, crunchy and slightly salty in taste. You can eat samphire raw or cooked. Raw, for example, in a salad. Cooked it looks a bit like seaweed. It has a salty taste so don’t add too much salt to your dish.
Kohlrabi probably comes from Northern Europe. It is a thickening in the stem that forms the tuber and is edible. Unlike kohlrabi, it grows above the ground.
The taste of raw kohlrabi is celery-like, but cooked it resembles cauliflower. the small tubers are softer and less skinnier than the larger tubers.
Kohlrabi can be used in a salad, in soups or cooked with a tasty sauce.
The last vegetable in the list of forgotten vegetables is purslane. Purslane is native to India and the Middle East. It is a forgotten vegetable that is almost really forgotten.
The taste of purslane is quite special, namely slightly sour, sharp and yet refined. There is a winter purslane and a summer purslane. Purslane is a real iron bomb, it contains much more iron than, for example, spinach.
You can eat purslane raw and cooked. Raw in a salad and cooked as a regular vegetable with potatoes or stir-fry with garlic and onion.