Oyster Plant or Common Salsify
The Oyster plant is a member of Asteraceae or Daisy family of plants and it has purple flowers that are tiny in size. The entire Oyster plant is edible. The seeds of the Oyster plant can be used in salads or sandwiches and they taste best with eggs. The flowering shoots and the young shoots of the Oyster plant can be cooked even before the flowers appear.
The other common names associated with the Oyster plant are Western Salisfy, Common Salsify or Wild Oyster Plant. The seed head of the plant resembles dandelions and the plant is large while the leaves are grass like and clasp the stem.
The Oyster plant has an edible root, which has a taste similar to that of Oysters. The plant is biennial and the flowers show up during the plant’s second season. The Oyster plant grows at least four feet tall.
The Oyster plant gets its life from the brown seeds which when sown in neutral soil. Like the roots of the plant, the leaves are also edible and the leaves can be added to mixed salads. The roots of Oyster plant reach eight to twelve inches in length and about an inch in diameter.
Before using the roots of Oyster plant, it is important to carefully wash the roots and remove the thin skin by peeling or by scraping. When scraping the roots a sticky, milky white liquid will start coming out of the roots. After removing the thin skin, which forms the outer layer of the roots, the roots must be quickly immersed in cool water that contains lemon juice in order to prevent discoloration of the roots. Oyster plant is very low in calories and has proteins and fibers. Oyster plant also has medicinal use.
Oyster plant is used for medicinal purposes like removing the obstructions of gallbladder and for jaundice. Oyster plant has been proved very useful for those who suffer from arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure.
Oyster plant has many health benefits. It is very useful for healing of sore throat. The taste of oyster plant is very good and the healing is very fast especially for problems like cough, sore throat and urinary tract infection. Oyster plant is also used in getting relief from coughing phlegm with blood, tonsillitis, whooping cough, nosebleed and lung problems.
Oyster plant was once very popular in Europe and the ancient Greeks and Romans used it extensively for cooking purposes. Oyster plant is very easy to grow and it grows best in neutral soil requiring little or no care. The Oyster plant requires at least four months for producing a good size root. A lot of space is required for growing Oyster plant because it will grow at least four feet in height. Oyster plant is best used fresh from the ground and while using the roots for cooking purposes it is important to wash and peel them.
The Oyster plant grows in neutral soil and the entire plant is very useful for cooking purposes apart from the great medicinal use that the plant has got for people suffering from high blood pressure and other health problems.