The tuberous chervil is an ancient root vegetable long forgotten by gardeners. Resembling a small conical carrot, its flesh is excellent, sweet and tender after cooking. Its fine flavor is reminiscent of that of potato and that of chestnut.
It is probably because of its low yields that the culture of tuberous chervil never really spread. Cultivated since Antiquity in continental Europe, it was already mentioned by Charles de l’Écluse at the end of the 16th century. It was indeed during a stay in Austria that the father of French botany discovered this delicious Apiaceae. A remarkable feature for a root vegetable, the tuberous chervil was served on the best tables, especially among aristocrats who were generally not very fond of underground vegetables.
The tuberous chervil is also called bulbous chervil or bulbous chlorophyll from its Latin name: Chaerophyllum bulbosum. And if we are talking about it now, it is because there is still time to sow it!
Successful sowing of tuberous chervil
1st method: sow between November and January
2nd method: sow in February or March, after stratification of the seeds
To stratify your seeds: mix your seeds with wet sand then place this mixture in an airtight box and at the bottom of your refrigerator for 3 weeks. Check the humidity of the sand once a week.
Sow in healthy and well-prepared soil (aerated with a grelinette) in lines spaced about 25 cm every 2 cm. The seeds should not be buried but placed on a bed of seedling potting soil. Then pack the soil. The emergence will take place in the spring following the sowing.
After lifting, it will be necessary to thin it out, spacing 8 to 10 cm on the line. A regular supply of humus, consisting of clippings of grass, dead leaves, manure, and straw, will be beneficial throughout the culture.
Remember to water frequently.
Harvest the roots between mid-June and mid-July, when the foliage has completely yellowed, then dried out and has almost disappeared. After having let them dry well, you will have to wait a little longer. It is only after being stored until the end of September in a cellar or in a cold silo in dry sand that they will take on their full flavor. They are then consumed all winter.
You can keep your tuberous chervil in the cellar in a dry place, in the sand for 2 to 3 months. Preservation will improve the taste.
You can also freeze your harvest after blanching for 2 to 3 minutes in boiling salt water. Remember to stop cooking by immersing them in cold water. Your small vegetables will keep up to 6 months in the freezer in a freezer bag.
The tuberous chervil must be peeled before being consumed. It is however quite possible to keep the skin when it is harvested when young, the taste will be more pronounced.
Please note that the leaves of the tuberous chervil are unfit for consumption: they are toxic.
Tuberous chervil is prepared and cooked like carrot, Jerusalem artichoke, celeriac, tuberous parsley or parsnip. However, be careful not to overcook it because its flesh can become floury.
It is eaten raw grated or cooked, mashed, pan-fried, stew, cream, or as an accompaniment. Tuberose chervil goes well with red meat, pork, chicken. And to make it simple, delicious and quick: pan-fried chervil with garlic and parsley will be perfect!