I discovered a new vegetable this winter called Schwarzwurzel, which literally translates as "black root." Wikipedia tells me that in English Schwarzwurzel is called "black salsify," but I had never heard of such a thing.
I first encountered Schwarzwurzel at my office Kantine, where I was a little bit confused. Why was it called "black root" when, as served, it was completely white? At the Kantine they always serve the Schwarzwurzeln in cream sauce (which I can't eat), so I had never tasted it. Then I found Schwarzwurzel at my local farmer's market I was excited to try it out for myself.
Once I actually got to see Schwarzwurzel in its raw form, it was very clear why it's called "black root." The outside seems like it's just dirt, but it's really the peel. The inside is white, and looks and tastes a lot like you'd expect a neutral root vegetable to taste. Maybe like a parsnip or a turnip, but with less flavor and a slightly different texture? It also reminded me a bit of hearts of palm because of its shape and texture. I steamed it and ate it with vinaigrette, which was fine, but I also think it would be good in a Thai-style curry. It tasted good, but not so good that I feel the need to keep searching it out.
As you might guess, pretty much all of the vegetables you can find at German supermarkets are the exact same ones that can be found in American supermarkets. So I was excited to discover an exception! Despite globalization, a world of vegetable-unknowns is still out there waiting for me - hooray for that.