Are we the only ones who love root vegetables in the fall? While we all enjoy our standby potatoes and carrots – we are having a love affair with parsnips lately. Who can deny their sweet flavor and versatility? Here are eleven facts we found pretty darn interesting about our beloved Lancer Parsnips (and here’s where to find them).
1. Cultivated in Europe since ancient times and a relative of the carrot, the ivory-colored, fibrous parsnip offers sweet, nutty flavor and celery-like fragrance.
2. It can be harvested through the end of November, and if you wait until after the first frost of the year, you’ll find that they are delightfully sweeter, because cold temperatures turn the parsnip’s starch into sugar.
3. Because parsnips are so fibrous, they’re generally cooked before eating. Parsnips are the sweetest of all the root vegetables and easy to prepare.
4. Parsnips are chocked full of vitamin C, which is essential for building healthy connective tissues, teeth, gums, and the immune system.
5. The parsnip is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. It is also rich in vitamin K, folate, and manganese.
6. Prior to planting, soak parsnip seeds in water for 24 hours for optimal germination.
7. Starting the parsnip seed outside is recommended. Plant in late spring or early summer about four months before the first frost. Harvest anytime between June and late November.
8. They can be sliced up or left whole when baked or boiled, and mashed with butter and cream. Try slicing parsnips into big chunks and steam like carrots.
9. These root vegetables are a delicious addition to roasts, soups and stews.
10. Flavors that complement this root vegetable include: allspice, brown sugar, chives, cinnamon, ginger, maple syrup, nutmeg, rosemary, and sage, to name a few.
11. Parsnips are especially wonderful when mashed with butter, cream, and spices – feel free to include potatoes in the mash too. This side dish is perfect for pairing with roasted meats:
- 2 pounds parsnips, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup heavy cream
Place parsnips in a large saucepan then cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt to the water. Bring to a boil, lower heat then simmer for about 12 minutes or until parsnips are very tender. Drain parsnips then place in a food processor. Add butter nutmeg, cream, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt; Process ingredients until smooth.
Roasted Parsnips with Cinnamon & Parsley
10 medium parsnips (appx. 1 – 1.5 lbs)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. sea salt, or more, if desired
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 TBS. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Peel the parsnips and cut each into 1-inch pieces crosswise, then cut the thicker pieces into halves or quarters to get chunks of roughly equal size. If the core seems pithy or tough, cut it out. You’ll have about 4 cups.
Arrange the parsnips in a single layer in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Combine the cumin, coriander, paprika, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir to mix. Sprinkle the spices evenly over the parsnip slices and toss until well coated.
Roast until tender and lightly browned on the edges, appx. 35 to 45 min., stirring once or twice during cooking. Sprinkle with the parsley and lemon juice and toss well. Taste and season if necessary before serving.
Readers…we’re curious how your parsnips did this year? What are your favorite ways to use them?
Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.