Bamboo Shoot: The texture is crisp and tender similar to that of an asparagus and a flavor similar to that of corn. Used commonly in Asian cuisine.
Beet: Dirty and rough looking exterior with a deep red or yellow interior. Once cooked, they have a buttery sweet flavor. Great in soups, salads, and can be easily marinated.
Carrots: Can come in a variety of colors; red, white, yellow or purple. The most common type of carrot is orange and has a crunchy texture with a sweet and fragrant taste.
Garlic: One of the most widely used ingredients, garlic is known to beThe most common use of garlic is of it’s bulb which sections off to cloves. In general the more you chop the clove the stronger the taste.
Ginger: An aromatic tasting root that is used many times as a spice. The younger the ginger, the softer and more mild the taste; whereas, the older the ginger the dryer and more potent the flavor. Make sure to pick garlic that is firm and is tightly wound.
Horseradish: This spicy flavored root is usually grated, pickled, mashed, or made into soups.
Jerusalem Artichoke: Similar to potatoes in texture but are a bit nuttier and sweeter in flavor.
Jicama: Looks a bit like a potato; however is eaten raw and has a neutral, slight sweet taste and is crisp and moist texture resembling that of a pear.
Leek: This wonderful ingredient is known for its earthy mild-onion taste without the pungent odor. Take note that usually only the white and light green parts are used in cooking unless you are making a stock and want to add a bit of bitterness then you would use a couple dark green portions.
- White Onion: Known for becoming a beautiful golden color and sweet taste when sautéed, this onion is often used in a variety of Latin American cuisine.
- Yellow Onion: When cooked have a sweet, tangy, buttery flavor. Can be used in any type of dish.
- Red Onion: Great for using in fresh dishes, grilled or char-boiled. This is the kind of onion used in ceviche and most Peruvian cuisine.
Parsnip: Look very similar to carrots; however are much paler in color, are much sweeter and have a distinct tangy sweetness when cooked.
Potato: One of the top four food crops in the world, potatoes are found in a variety of cuisine. Make sure when you are buying them there are no plant buds growing off of them, their skins are smooth and not wrinkled, and that they are firm to the touch.
Radish: The bulb of the radish is usually consumed raw. They have a crunchy, sharp, sweet and peppery taste.
Rutabaga: Cross between cabbage and a turnip with a sweet and bitter taste. Firm, smooth, skinny roots, and relatively heavy for their size, the younger they are and the sweeter they taste. The bigger, tough skinned and lighter weight the older they are and have more of a woody taste. Used many times with beef stews or mashed like potatoes.
Sweet Potato: Similar to the potato in texture yet a bit thicker with a sweet bland taste. They come in a variety of colors. Make sure that the skins are smooth and they are firm to the touch.
Turnip: When raw they are bitter and crunchy. Cooked can have the consistency of a similar to that of a potato but can taste a bit bitter.
Water Chestnut: Slightly sweet and crisp in raw form and nutty mild taste when cooked, this root vegetable has a white flesh that may be eaten raw, boiled, pickled, or grilled. Used commonly in Chinese dishes.
Yacón: Flavor similar to Jicama but slightly sweeter and more floral. Grown in South America, this root vegetable is used most commonly in teas and sweet syrups. This is a great alternative to sugar for those that are diabetic because this type of fructose (sugar) cannot be digested by the body.
Yam: Many people confuse the sweet potato and the yam; however they are quite different. Yams are sweeter, smaller in size, and are more moist than sweet potatoes.