Skirret was once grown and eaten throughout Europe, then fell out of fashion when vegetables such as the potato were brought back from the new world. Now, especially in Australia, almost no one has ever heard of skirret, let alone eaten it. It is too bad because skirret tastes amazing.
Skirret can be planted as a seed in spring, it produces a crop, flowers and produces more seed all in one year. Not many perennial vegetables can produce a crop this quick from seed grown. Skirret plants also produce offsets, so when the plant dies down over winter the offsets can be divided, the seeds can be planted and you can increase the number of plants that you have. Skirret seed shows a surprising amount of genetic diversity, that combined with how many seeds it sets, plus its perennial nature, makes breeding improved skirret varieties relatively simple.
Skirret likes water and thrives in cool climates, if in a hot climate it grows well enough if given more water. It can survive with less water, but does not crop well. You really can't over water skirret.
|Skirret roots, it was the end of the season when I had eaten all the large roots that I remembered to take a picture, many were a bit longer than this|
|Young skirret plants|
Skirret is such an amazing vegetable that everyone who I have given some to has loved it. Kids even love the taste of skirret. I have never heard of anyone eat some and not love it.
Skirret leaves, stems and seeds can be eaten, and they are not without their charm, but it is the roots that are the main crop here. The roots can be eaten raw, and they are ok, much like a sweet crunchy carrot, but skirret is far better roasted. It is easily the best tasting roasted vegetable that I have eaten. It doesn't need to be peeled, just scrub off the soil and roast away. Skirret tastes incredibly sweet and rich once roasted.
|Skirret plants - crowded but still good|
|Skirret starting to flower in late summer|
Skirret also seems to be good when planted near leek. The skirret is the same, but the leeks appear to grow faster and larger. I should do some little tests to see if this was just a coincidence.
Where to buy skirret in Australia
Not many places in Australia have skirret for sale, hopefully that changes as skirret is a delicious vegetable that is well suited to growing at home. Skirret needs some breeding work done to make the roots fatter. I sell skirret offsets over winter, small plants over spring, and seeds all year. They are listed on my for sale page if you are interested.