Let's face it: winter root vegetables can be real dull. Rutabaga after rutabaga can get seriously boring and when you're a pile of parsnips deep after your winter CSA pick up, things start to look a little bleak. Winter's bad enough -- we don't need our vegetables to be depressing too.
Fortunately not all winter root vegetables make us want to cancel our CSA and give up on cooking at home altogether. Carrots, for one, are grossly underrated, and we're happy to eat them in mass quantities every time the cold weather starts to set in. We'll dip raw carrots into hummus or miso tahini dressing, cut carrots into our vegetarian chili and slow roast them until they're soft and caramelized, perfect for eating with avocado. There's also always carrot cake.
Carrots aren't the only root vegetables that make winter a worthwhile season, either. We've put together a list of 13 common winter root vegetables, ranked from worst to best, to highlight the ones we love and besmirch the ones we hate (we're looking at you, rutabaga). Root vegetables, biologically speaking, are distinct from tubers (potatoes, sunchokes), rhizomes (ginger, turmeric) and bulbs (onion, garlic). True root vegetables are taproots, which are roots that grow downward into the ground. Taproots can be subdivided into tuberous roots (sweet potatoes, yams) and fleshy roots (carrots and beets).
For the purposes of this post, we're using a broader definition of the term "root vegetable," referring to winter root vegetables as they're colloquially recognized. Think: all the winter vegetables you consider when deciding whether or not to cancel that damn CSA. While you're busy teasing out the differences between taproots, we'll be over here roasting the sweet winter roots -- colloquially speaking -- that we like, and figuring out creative ways to get rid of the ones we hate. Here's how our favorite, and least favorite, winter root vegetables stack up.