One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An East Asian plant of the parsley family, formerly cultivated in Europe for its edible carrot-like root.
Sium sisarum, family Umbelliferae
- ‘I have no idea whether sparrows eat skirret, but they were definitely sniffing around it the other night.’
- ‘The skirret is a native of China, and was so much valued in Rome, that it is said the emperor Tiberius accepted the roots for tribute.’
- ‘His ‘Soops’ called for savory ingredients, such as spinach, carrots, artichokes, potatoes, skirrets, and parsnips.’
- ‘However, mention of skirrets had largely disappeared from the recipe books by the end of the 18th century.’
- ‘Your pie being ready, lay in your skirrets; season also the marrow of three or four bones with cinnamon, sugar, a little salt and grated bread.’
- ‘The skirret gets an early head start, and is in full size and bloom by the time the hog peanut gets going.’
- ‘As late as 1716, Bradley, in his Historia Plantarum Succulentarum, speaks of them as ‘inferior to skirrets and radishes.’’
Middle English skirwhit(e), perhaps from Scots skire ‘bright, clear’ + white.
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