AskDefine | Define mangelwurzel

Dictionary Definition



1 beet with a large yellowish root; grown chiefly as cattle feed [syn: mangold-wurzel, mangold, Beta vulgaris vulgaris]
2 cultivated as feed for livestock

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


  1. a root vegetable, Beta vulgaris, cultivated chiefly as cattle feed

Extensive Definition

Mangelwurzel or mangold wurzel (Beta vulgaris), is a root vegetable of the family Chenopodiaceae, genus Beta (the beets). Its large white, yellow or orange-yellow swollen roots were developed in the 1700s for feeding livestock
Contemporary use is primarily for cattle, pig and other stock feed, although this is recognised by conservers of heritage crops as being delicious eating. Considered a crop for cool-temperate climates, the mangelwurzel sown in autumn can be grown as a winter crop in warm-temperate to sub-tropical climates. Both leaves and roots may be eaten. Leaves can be lightly steamed for salads or lightly boiled as a vegetable if treated like English spinach. Grown in well-dug, well-composted soil and watered regularly, the roots become tender, juicy and flavoursome. The roots are prepared boiled like potato for serving mashed, diced or in sweet curries. Animals are known to thrive excellently upon this plant, both its leaves and roots providing a nutritious food. Mangelwurzel may require supplementary potassium (aka potash) for optimum yields, flavour and texture and foliage readily displays potassium deficiency as interveinal chlorosis. The name Mangel-wurzel comes from the German Mangel/Mangold, "chard", and Wurzel, "root".
The 1840 book "The Practice of Cookery" includes a recipe for a beer made with mangel wurzel.

In popular culture

The mangelwurzel has a history in England of being used for sport (mangold hurling), for celebration (mangold lanterns at punkie night in Somerset), for animal fodder and for the brewing of a potent alcoholic beverage.
A mangelwurzel hurling championship was revived in the north Wiltshire village of Sherston on October 7, 2006. Teams of three hurled mangelwurzels in turn, aiming to be the closest to a large leafless mangelwurzel known as 'the norman'.
It is also the source of the name for the English folk/pop/comedy musical group The Wurzels.
Most city-dwellers in England have only the vaguest idea of what a mangelwurzel is, and tend to associate the vegetable with the stereotypical country bumpkin character in comedy. The word is even used as a double-entendre, for example by the character Rambling Syd Rumpo (Kenneth Williams). As usual, some entertainers from country towns embrace the stereotype, as above.
The first encounter with the mangelwurzel for many children may well be through the book Muddle Earth (2003) by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, in which the mangelwurzel is the staple diet of the trolls. It also appears in George Orwell's Animal Farm, in the fourth stanza of the ballad "Beasts of England."
The mangelwurzel was mentioned prominently in the book Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.
It also makes frequent appearances as a sheep's treat in the sheep detective novel Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann.
Mangelwurzel is given as a genus of a scarecrow in the childrens' programme Worzel Gummidge.

See also

mangelwurzel in German: Futterrübe
mangelwurzel in Dutch: Voederbiet
mangelwurzel in Russian: Свёкла кормовая
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1