Welcome to the wonderful world of root vegetables now with a bonus baby food recipe from Cuisinart food processor!

Now that the fall is here, more and more root vegetables will be crowding your local farmer's market, all jumping up and down and vying for your attention.

Well, they got mine.

So let me introduce you to some root vegetables. This is not intended to be an encyclopedic look. Just a friendly introduction to some of the varieties you are likely to find at the market with links to some pretty simple and yummy recipes.

Think of it as a running start.

Root vegetables 101
Root vegetables are great. Get this: Root vegetables are loaded with nutrients, but low in fat and calories. They are inexpensive and incredibly easy to find year-round. And they tend to last, some for several days, others for several weeks.

And, best of all, you are already familiar with many root vegetables. From carrots to radishes, these are the workhorses of the vegetables world.

As with all vegetables, you want them firm and unblemished (in other words, if they bend, leave them behind). There are two things you need to know about carrots. First, the greens tend to sap them of their nutrients, so the second you get home, snap off those greens and dump them on the compost heap. Second, carrots are good both cold (think mid-morning munch) and cooked (the easiest way is tossed with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkles with salt and pepper and fresh rosemary leaves, then roasted at 450 until caramelized and soft, say 20 minutes or so).

These are sweet and gorgeous when roasted, like the carrots (although, unlike carrots, these are never eaten raw), or boiled and mashed with a bit of cream and butter (you can do the same with carrots).

My husband treats these as a munch food: I wash them and trim off their ends with a paring knife then dump them in a bowl in the fridge for easy munching. Figure you have two or three days before they go soft. Two or three days where I am happy he is eating these crunchy, peppery treats as opposed to, say, potato chips. By the way, these are great to carve (think something simple, like a smiley face or a rose), which means they make fun food for kids (or for sick husbands, but I digress).

Like parsnips and carrots are yummy boiled and mashed (try sprinkling a little bit of nutmeg for a special treat).

They look like large, yellow turnips and can be used just like a turnip.

I have yet to find a beet that I like, but I have also yet to look all that hard, so these remain on my list. Although these come in all sorts of colors, including white, the most familiar variety are the red beets. And these stain hands and clothing as fast as raspberries and red wine.

Also known as celery root, this is supposed to taste (no surprise) like celery. Because it is. Namely, the root of a celery, that is. I’ve never had celeriac, but I understand you can eat it raw or cooked. Raw, it’s supposed to be nice shredded into a salad. Cooked, it’s a lovely addition to soups. And, of course, it can be enjoyed on it’s own after it is sautéed or baked. I do plan to try it.

No, hey, babies are not a root vegetable. But, as luck would have it, I was researching another blog post when I tripped across a site that talked about recipes for babies. Specifically, using root vegetables to make baby food. So if you have a baby, you can go here to see more recipes. Here's one to get you started:
Cuisinart food processor recipe for carrot baby food
Makes about twelve 1-ounce servings

1 pound carrots, peeled and trimmed

Insert the slicing blade on the Cuisinart® food processor work bowl. Arrange the carrots in the small feed tube and slice using the small pusher.

Place sliced carrots in a steamer basket to fit a 3- or 4-quart saucepan filled with an inch of water. Place the pan with a tight fitting lid over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil reduce the heat to medium. Steam carrots for 20 minutes until they are completely soft.

Place steamed carrots in work bowl fitted with the metal chopping blade. Pulse 5 times and then turn machine on for 20 seconds. Scrape work bowl. Process for 20 more seconds. For a smoother consistency, pulse in 1 tablespoon of cooking liquid until desired consistency is reached.

Allow mixture to cool. Store in refrigerator in airtight container for up to 3 days or fill ice cube trays or other containers to freeze.