Add Parsnips to Your Grocery List!

Add Parsnips to Your Grocery List!

Parsnips are one of those vegetables that are easily overlooked. Many people, when asked about whether they like them, admit they have never even tried them. I’m not sure why this lovely root gets the pass-by in the produce isle, because it’s a hero on my list! To those who have never tried this cousin of the carrot, for whatever reason……give parsnips a chance! And if you already love parsnips it’s always fun to try new ways to prepare them. There are so many reasons to accept the parsnip as a regular grocery item, so I’m going to give you a few reasons right here, plus how to make parsnip fries….you’ll want to try these!…. And then shine a positive light on this underappreciated root.

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parsnips and carrots at the market

What is a parsnip?

Is it a carrot? No, but they are related to carrots and also parsley. They are a winter root that looks a lot like a white, or creamy colored carrot. The taste is sweeter than a carrot with a nutty, earthy flavor that has a mild tang like a radish. When added to other roasted vegetables like carrots and potatoes they add a complexity of flavor that is very satisfying.


In the Garden

This year I will be attempting to grow parsnips for the first time, so I can’t speak from experience, but according to the Farmer’s Almanac they are basically as easy to grow as a carrot. Loose soil is needed for the long roots, some good seeds and a sunny location. They need a long growing season but can be left in the ground over winter, which actually gives them a sweeter flavor. Some of the best parsnips are found in early spring!

So nutritious!

Parsnips are a great vegetable to help add vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients to your diet. One-half cup of cooked parsnips provides a good source of folate, vitamin C, many important minerals and fiber – all for less than 60 calories! If you want to get all the nitty gritty on parsnip nutrition you can check it out here: Nutrition facts

How to use them

I have found that most people who eat parsnips cook them. Guess what…they are good raw too, so add them to a salad or cole slaw and see what you think! You can peel them, but much of the flavor is just beneath the skin, so a good scrubbing is a good way to keep the flavor at it’s best. Sometimes the great big ones have a woody or pithy center. If this is the case, simply cut that part out and use the rest. But save the scrubbing and cutting until just before you use them because they oxidize (much like a potato). Cutting them up ahead of time is fine, but you’ll want to put them in a bowl of water with a little salt or lemon juice until ready to use.

There are so many ways to prepare these delectable roots. My favorite is to roast them with other vegetables like carrots, potatoes, onions, mushrooms and even burdock root. They cook a little faster than a carrot, so cut them accordingly. Add them to soups, or steam them like you would carrots. Try my Hot and Sour Soup recipe and add a handful of parsnip pieces for an added bonus of taste and nutrition! One of my all time favorites is parsnip fries, and I’m going to tell you how to make with a printable recipe!

Parsnip fries

Tips on Parsnip Fries

Avocado oil is my favorite, because it is a healthy oil that doesn’t change to something unhealthy at high heat. I prefer to use a smaller frying pan with about 1/2 to 1/3 inch oil. Using smaller amounts of oil and make smaller batches adding oil as needed, rather than using a lot at first and ending up with too much parsnip infused oil in the end. (Although parsnip oil could be something to experiment with!)

I think these fries are super easy to prepare. My favorite is to simply “peel” strips with a potato peeler. Just keep going until it’s all peeled. If you meet a woody center, then just stop when you get to it.

These fries are crispy and delicious with a bit of salt and go well with so many things. Eat them plain or with a favorite dipping sauce…’ll love them!

Parsnip Fries

A delicious way to use parsnips that may become a favorite!

  • avocado oil for frying
  • firm, scrubbed parsnips
  • salt to taste
  1. Heat about 1/2 inch avocado oil in a smaller frying pan. You want the oil to be hot enough so a piece of parsnip sizzles and bubbles when added

  2. While it’s heating, use a peeler and “peel” pieces of the parsnip until you have peeled the whole thing.

  3. Add small manageable amount of parsnips to the oil and let fry until they just start to turn golden. Don’t wait past this point because they burn quickly.Remove with tongs and let drain on paper or a towel.

  4. Add more parsnips and repeat the process, until you have fried as many parsnips as your heart desires. You can add small amounts of oil as needed, allowing it to heat again with each addition.

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