Generally, parsnips begin to be harvested in Wisconsin in October and November. These vegetables may be unfamiliar to you, but they are easy to prepare and are quite versatile.
At only 55 calories per half-cup serving, parsnips are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins C and K, and manganese.
How to Select:
They should be hard and not bend at all. Ideally, parsnips with bases no longer than an inch in diameter are best. Larger parsnips up to 2 and ½ inches will be sweet but may need to be cored before cooking. Anything larger than that are generally quite tough.
How to Store:
Wrap in a paper towel and store in a produce bag in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
How to Prepare:
If your parsnips came with greens attached, remove and discard (they are not edible). The skin can be scrubbed or lightly peeled. The surprisingly sweet and hardy parsnip can be oven-roasted and topped with pesto, baked in a gratin like potatoes, pan-roasted, sautéed, pureed, or braised. Smooth, sweet comforting soups work well with the addition of pureed parsnips. They also partner well with sweet potatoes as latkes. Deep-fried parsnip chips (fried in a saucepan with 2 inches of grapeseed oil heated to 375F for 1-2 minutes until golden on the edges—drain well and cool) sound unusual, but are sweet, light and crispy.
Recipe: Parsnip Apple Soup
Total Time: 45 minutes; 30 minutes active
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 cups diced yellow onion (1 medium onion)
- 1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled and diced
- 2 cups peeled and diced apple
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup heavy cream or milk
- 1/2 cup minced parsley
- Ground black pepper
- 4 ounces chèvre (optional)
Heat a stockpot over medium-high heat and sauté the onion in the oil for 5 minutes. Add the parsnips and apples and sauté another 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the coriander, a pinch of salt and the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until parsnips are soft. Remove from heat and add the cream or milk, parsley and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Use a food processor or blender to puree the soup (in small batches if necessary). Season with salt and pepper and serve warm with a small dollop of chèvre on top.
285 calories, 7g. fat, 12 mg. cholesterol, 524 mg. sodium, 41 g. carbohydrate, 12 g. fiber, 8 g. protein
Don’t be fooled by the intimidating title, Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters has incredibly simple recipes that use parsnips, including Grilled Parsnips, Parsnip and Potato Puree, Parsnip Chips, and Roasted Winter Vegetables. You can find this book through the Hudson Public Library system.
What about you?
How have you used parsnips successfully in your own cooking? Share you ideas!
Want to see more local, fresh produce in your fridge? Consider becoming an owner of the Hudson Grocery Cooperative—which will be a locally-owned, full-service grocery store that offers diverse food and product choices including organic, sustainable and regionally sourced options for our community
Image and recipe credit: Welcome to the Table