Name that mystery vegetable

It’s the game show for people who don’t get their food from a box! For 200 points, what is this garden vegetable:

Bonus points if you know the cultivar name as well. Please answer in the form of a question for no particular reason. Some exclusions apply. Points have no cash value. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera …

Updated on 08/10/2012: The correct vegetable name was guessed in the comments within 6 hours. This is a Cylindra Beet, also called Formanova Beet. When I checked our site this morning there were four comments awaiting moderation which all had the correct answer. Wow! Some of you really know your beet cultivars!

We’ve grown beets for the last 4 years, but this is our first year growing Cylindra. Cylindra has a number of advantages which make it our new favorite beet variety. First, it’s just funny seeing those beet columns rise from the surrounding soil. Weird vegetables make hand-watering more fun. Since only the small tip of the beet is underground, it’s easy to pick. The shape makes it easy to peel and slice. Each slice has the same diameter. It’s almost immune to root maggots. Root maggots are an Oregon pest that hatches at the ground level and chews tracks down the sides of turnips, parsnips, beets, and so forth. Most importantly, the root and greens are both very tasty. We found Cylindra seed at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

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26 Responses to Name that mystery vegetable

  1. Domini says:

    red mammoth mangel.

  2. Nate says:

    It’s a beetroot… delicious peeled and chunked and roasted…

    • lee says:

      … and turned into borscht. Correct, it’s a beet. It’s not one of the “normal” varieties though, so I wonder if someone can also guess the cultivar.

  3. Phil Cassidy says:

    I know that one (I think) – is it Cylindra ? … every holiday is not complete without the pickled beets.

    • lee says:

      Correct! Wow, good guess. This is the first time we grew Cylindra and we are really impressed with it, beyond its bizarre appearance.

      (Your comment and the next 3 arrived before I could approve them all, so we have a 4-way tie.)

  4. kathy says:

    Is it the Formanova beet?

    • lee says:

      Also correct! I wasn’t actually aware that it had a second name until I was looking up Cylindra online to make this post.

  5. Karen says:

    What is a Formanova beet.

  6. …good, a beet. I thought you might have started growing human feet.

  7. Snowbrush says:

    Well, it’s definitely a beet, but that’s as far as I go.

    • lee says:

      Well, that’s probably closer than most Americans would get. Grocery store beets are the more traditional spheroid shape and always look so neglected.

  8. Alex says:

    Shouldn’t the “answer” be:

    “What does the Cylindra or Formanova Beet (Beta vulgaris) look like after being pulled from the ground?”

    • lee says:

      Well, after it’s pulled from the ground it looks almost exactly the same, since most of the beet is above ground while it’s growing. I’ve updated the post with a picture of the harvested vegetable.

  9. Woody says:

    How do they taste?

  10. Benita says:

    Good lord, that’s a big beet. I guess we grew boringly round ones, only.

    • lee says:

      Yeah, I’m also impressed by the size compared to our round ones. Although, some mangels can reach 20 lbs. That would be truly huge!

  11. Nice beets! We have real trouble with root vegetables here, but I want to try those. They look like the demon spawn of a horseradish and a regular beet.

    • robin says:

      They were fun to grow. Mostly I just ignored them. Do you have root maggots too or is it more the soil problem you have been dealing with?

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