a.k.a. Turnip Rooted Chervil. Root chervil is a relatively rare biennial plant little known but once popular in France and parts of Europe. It forms a storage root in the first year and then going to seed in the second year. Plants grow from 4 to 6 feet tall and resembles Queen Anne’s Lace or Poison Hemlock.
The root is typically fairly small, typically reaching two or three inches in length and perhaps half that in width. But in good soil and with selection the roots can grow to much larger sizes. Size probably accounts for its decline in popularity, since yields are small compared to similar plants like carrot or parsnip that have much larger roots. The flavor is VERY unique and is something like a carrot, with the texture of a baked potato but a bit firmer, perhaps more like a chestnut, with an aftertaste of the herb chervil.
The roots taste best after several weeks of storage or after a freeze (if you can leave them in the ground that long). You can reproduce this effect by storing the roots for a few weeks in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator. As with most root vegetables, it is easily prepared by boiling or roasting. It is not generally eaten raw.
The origin of root chervil’s domestication appears to be uncertain, at least to the few authors who have addressed the subject in English. The center of domestication is probably somewhere in eastern Europe. Although root chervil is now somewhat popular in France, it was popular earlier in Germany and Austria. It may never have been more than a wild collected food though. Root chervil was introduced to Britain in 1726 as an ornamental and grown on a large scale for a time. It was introduced to France in 1846 and a breeding program was started in 1985 that has produced several new varieties. ~1/2-1tsp seed minimum per packet. Best stratified for a month in the fridge unde rmoist conditions.