Friday, October 28, 2011


Roots and tubers are ideal foods. Unlike fresh produce, they are available year round outside the tropics. Because are energy storage for plants, they can be quite large. (Contrast to grains and seeds, which are small.) They don’t require chasing down, just dig them up and eat. Roots and tubers are important because they keep very well. When stored in a cool, dry place they can keep through the winter.

Roots are often a base ingredient for stews and broths. There is always a pot of onions slowly browning in many Indian kitchens.


3 months
5 lbs
2 weeks
2 lbs
3 months
5 lbs

Onion: Common; not green onions. (Rice Flakes, Pilafs) Possibly native to Middle East (Palestine, Egypt) or central Asia (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan).

Carrot: Uncommon. Occasionally with peas and carrots in pilafs. (Carrot Rice, Pilafs) Wild carrots are widely distributed in Europe and parts of Asia. Possibly native to Afghanistan.

Potato: Common. (Rice Flakes?) Native to Peru and Bolivia. Sweet potato and yams are uncommon in Indian recipes, which prefer the very common Russet potato.

Roots generally keep one month. So I shop every 2 weeks for a 2 week supply. Shopping for one person, I bring home 15 lbs roots every two weeks, depending on what’s left in the root basket. Usually 10 lbs onions and 5-10 lbs potatoes. (I typically use more onions than potatoes, though sometimes that reverses.) That’s two paper bag (10#) or three plastic bags (5#).

Of the total 4 lbs per person per day, I plan for 25% roots daily. I plan for 1 lb roots daily, which will usually be cooked.

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