The History of Parsnips
Parsnips date back many years. The origin of this unusual root
vegetable began when the Romans started growing them for broths
and stew recipes.
The parsnip was introduced before the potato to Europe and
before these times, it was the main form of starchy vegetable.
This root vegetable provided both the poor and the wealthy with
a healthy source of nutrition, particularly during winter time.
Throughout history, people have made great use of this versatile
vegetable which is very easy to grow. The natural sugar content
of the parsnip meant that excellent recipes for parsnips could
be created - recipes including desserts, jams, beer and wine!
Parsnips and Storing Parsnips
When picking parsnips, always try to select small to medium
sized parsnips as they cook quicker and the skin does not always
have to be peeled. The smaller sized parsnips are healthier as
overall they will retain more vitamins and nutrients once they
have been cooked - roasted, baked, fried, steamed or whatever
cooking method you choose.
This is explained in further detail under the instructions for
preparing parsnip. Look for parsnips that appear fresh, i.e. not
bruised or marked and feel firm to the touch, not soft or limp.
Store parsnips in a cool but airy place. They will remain fine
for eating for approximately 8-10 days if stored in the right
Preparing Parsnips for Cooking
When peeling the skin of the parsnip, try to take as little as
possible off , if any at all. Larger sized parsnips may have to
be peeled. Remember that the majority of the health benefiting
nutrients, minerals and vitamins that are essential to our
health, are contained either within the skin or the layer
directly beneath the skin, therefore, where possible, as much of
the skin should be eaten as this is the healthiest part.
Tips for Cooking with
There are many cooking options for parsnips. A particular
favorite for many is roast parsnips as they taste delicious and
unique to any other vegetable.
Roast parsnips are simple to cook in the oven as it's just a
matter of cutting the parsnip to a size small enough to roast
and then roasting them in oil. However, if you are going to make
roast parsnips, it is advisable to par-boil them first for a few
minutes before transferring them to the roasting tray. Parsnips
can be cooked in different ways including boiling, baking,
steaming, mashing and frying.