What to roast? Almost anything:
- Parsnips were once as popular as carrots, and when you roast a tray-full you’ll learn why: They’re sweet and nutty, with a little hint of anise in the background.
- Turnips have a little vegetal metallic quality that makes spices such as cardamom pop in a unique way.
- It almost goes without saying that potatoes — skin on or skin off — are very nice when oven-roasted. Keep the skin on and you’ll get a nice boost of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, copper and iron.
- Cut sweet potatoes into chunks, French-fry sticks or thin coins.
- All hard squashes — acorn, hubbard, kabocha — are more or less interchangeable. You either cut ’em in half, remove seeds, roast open-side down till tender and then flip till caramelized, or you cut them in half, remove the seeds, then slice off the hard outside and cut into uniform chunks. Either way, a basement root cellar full of squash will get you through winter in good shape.
- Many pumpkins can be oven-roasted just like their squash cousins. A small “pie” pumpkin will give you both a handful of yummy seeds and the opportunity to slice it into thin crescents to oven roast.
- I like to wash beets, leave them skin-on, slick with oil, and then bundle into a foil pack. They can then be roasted at a lower temperature, say 350, for an hour or two (or four; they’re forgiving). Let them cool in the pack. Then, slick your own hands with olive oil to prevent the red color of the beets from sticking. Squeeze the beets to slip them out of their jackets, and enjoy.
- You can oven roast a whole cabbage head, left on the core, and cut it into wedges, like a head of iceberg lettuce.
- Onions, cut into rings, or even cut haphazardly, turn golden and dark in the oven, giving you all the flavor of a basket of onion rings, in prettier, healthier guise.
Does it sound too easy? Well, that’s what’s great about fall storage crops: They’re the lazy person’s way to eat more veggies, enjoy them thoroughly — and reclaim a bit of summer in the process. The early bird may get the worm (or when it comes to farmers’ markets, the first spindly asparagus), but the late-fall farmers’-market shopper gets everything she has room to store.