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Salsify: Properties, Benefits, Types, Characteristics and More

February 3, 2023
Salsify Properties, Benefits, Types, Characteristics

Find out below what salsify is, what are its types and main characteristics Also learn about its nutritional properties, health benefits, the best way to consume it and other curious facts about this tuber .

What is salsify?

Salsify is an edible root tuber, whose appearance is similar to a long, thin parsnip . Its meat is creamy white, its skin is thick and its flavor is very similar to that of Jerusalem artichoke variety. It is usually eaten boiled, pureed, or as an ingredient in soups and stews. In some places the salsify is also known as “oyster plant or vegetable oyster”.

Fun facts and features

  • The salsify root resembles a long, thin parsnip; With a slightly tapering shape, this tuber can grow as long as a carrot .
  • Salsify root is available year-round, with a peak season from late fall to early spring.
  • It is a tuber related to the dandelion family and is cultivated both for its root and its green leaves, which are also edible and highly nutritious.
  • Salsify contains as much potassium as plantain and is one of the best dietary sources of inulin (prebiotic fiber that supports good digestive tract health).
  • To store the salsify it is necessary to wrap it in plastic and refrigerate; That way it will stay fresh for up to two weeks.

Types of salsify

  • White variety. The white variety is considered the “true salsify” ( Tragopogon porrifolius ). This variety is native to the Eastern Mediterranean. It was first cultivated in Italy and France, where it is commonly known as “goat’s beard” for its furry appearance. The white salsify was brought to North America in the 18th century; There it reached popularity in some parts of the country and earned the peculiar name of “oyster plant”.
  • Black variety. The black salsify was cultivated later than the white variety, and is native to a wider region of Europe and Asia. The first place where it was cultivated was Spain, where it is known as Spanish salsify. This variety is the most preferred in culinary terms, as it is meatier, easier to peel, less fibrous and has a distinctive “nutty” flavor.

Nutritional properties of salsify

Salsify is a tuber loaded with nutrients; it is rich in minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and in vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B9 (folic acid ) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). It also contains significant amounts of dietary fiber, protein, and inulin .

Nutritional information (1 cup, 133g black salsify):

  • Calories: 109
  • Grease: 3 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodio: 27 mg (1%)
  • Potasio: 505 mg (14%)
  • Carbohydrates: 25 g (8%)
  • Dietary fiber: 4.4 g (17%)
  • Proteins: 4.4 g (8%)
  • Vitamin A: 0%
  • Vitamin C: 17%
  • Calcium: 8%
  • Iron: 4%
  • Vitamin D: 0%
  • Vitamin B-6: 20%
  • Vitamin B-12: 0%
  • Magnesium: 7%

What is salsify for? Benefits and uses

  • Helps improve digestion. Dietary fiber, abundant in salsify, helps maintain the proper functioning of the digestive system.1  This tuber contains a combination of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, which stimulates regular bowel movements and prevents constipation.
  • Strengthens the immune system. Salsify is rich in vitamin C, which has a very positive impact on the immune system. Its regular consumption increases our natural defenses against infection, and prevents damage to cells and tissues of the body.2
  • It helps to regulate blood pressure. Thanks to its content of minerals such as calcium and potassium, salsify can help regulate blood pressure.3
  • Improves the appearance of skin and hair. Some nutrients, such as vitamin A and vitamin C, fight the signs of aging and preserve the youthful appearance of the skin. Additionally, the iron levels in this tuber promote consistent and regular hair growth.
  • Helps prevent the formation of cancer cells. Salsify is abundant in antioxidant compounds that help neutralize the action of carcinogens and are involved in the prevention of various cancers, such as prostate, breast, colon and ovarian cancer.4
  • It is good for the bones. The calcium, copper and magnesium present in this root favor the growth and maintenance of bone tissue. Its regular consumption can help prevent osteoporosis.
  • It supports weight loss. Foods rich in fiber, such as salsify, help you lose weight by controlling insulin spikes and keeping you feeling full for longer. This fiber also helps control blood sugar levels by decreasing the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream.
  • Boost brain health. The vitamin A present in salsify improves the conduction of signals between neurotransmitters in the brain, thus promoting healthier brain function.5

How to consume salsify?

Salsify can be eaten boiled, mashed, fried like potatoes , or included in soups and stews. The leaves are also edible, in fact their light colored underside, tender texture and delicious taste is very similar to leek .

Salsify chips recipe:

Frequent questions

How to store salsify?

To store the salsify and keep it fresh for up to 2 weeks it is advisable to wrap the roots in a plastic bag and refrigerate.

What is the origin of salsify?

This tuber is native to southern Europe and the Middle East; some claim that their actual point of origin is in Spain. Salsify is not a very common vegetable outside of Europe, as conditions elsewhere are not ideal for its growth. It is a very popular food in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and other countries in central and southern Europe.

What is the salsify plant like?

The salsify plant produces an erect, unbranched stem that can reach 2 to 4 feet in height. It is a plant with thin, grass-like green leaves that produces purple flowers surrounded by green bracts.

Its root or tuber is thin, white (the most common type of salsify), shaped like a carrot and covered with a rough skin on the surface.

What does salsify taste like?

The most surprising thing about salsify is its flavor. Some claim that when cooked it acquires a taste similar to oysters, hence in some regions it is known as “oyster plant”. Others say it tastes more like artichoke hearts.

What other names does it have?

Other common names for salsify are cabruna beard, oyster plant, salsifis, goat’s beard, cabrón’s beard, barbaja, barbón, side grass, vegetable oyster, Villaviciosa rosette, white salsify, cow’s tit, cow’s nipple, tetillón , verbaja. Its scientific name is Tragopogon porrifolius.



My name is Louise Hammond, and I am the creator of this website, a place to find information about tubers, bulbs and medicinal roots. In I show the properties, benefits, characteristics, photos and images, ways of growing and how to make delicious meals from starchy vegetables.