With the fields and farmers' markets being blanketed with snow in many parts of Pennsylvania, most individuals must rely on groceries stores for their produce needs during the winter months. Tired of the same vegetables in the freezer aisle? Take another look in the produce section to add variety and flavor back into your meals. Parsnips resemble carrots in shape but pack a sweeter punch. This root vegetable's shy ivory color sets them apart from the vivacious orange flesh of the popular carrot.
Parsnips originate from Europe and Asia. Although, they are relatively unknown to the general public due to their flighty presence in grocery stores, parsnips can be used in many of the same ways as carrots. Consider growing some yourself!
Planting and Harvesting
Parsnips should be planted at the very beginning of spring due to the required four month growing season. It is also recommended that they be left in the ground until a cold frosts has occurred heightening the flavor.
Choose parsnips that are small in size and creamy in color with few dents or cuts. The smaller the parsnip, the sweeter the flavor.
Keep parsnips in the refrigerator, unwashed, for no longer than one month.
Parsnips are rich in vitamin C, folate, magnesium and potassium. Potassium is important for managing blood pressure. Parsnips only have 55 calories per half-cup serving.
Parsnips can be eaten raw or cooked, roasted, fried, boiled or sautéed. They are often added to soups and stews for a sweet touch.
Try this recipe from Montana State University Extension Service
Roasted Winter Vegetables
- 4 root vegetables (Choose a variety from potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes, etc.) (medium)
- 2 carrots (chopped)
- 1 onion (medium, chopped)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cut vegetables into large chunks
- Place in medium bowl and pour oil over top
- Add seasonings and Parmesan and mix well
- Spread an even layer on a baking sheet