Parsnips are root vegetables that are creamy yellow on the outside and white on the inside. They're available year-round in some markets but are easier to find in winter and early spring. The later parsnips are harvested, the sweeter they will taste, as the extra time and a frost help turn the starch into sugar.
Scrub parsnips well before using. Trim both ends. As with carrots, cut 1/4- to 1/2-inch off the top (the greens end) to avoid pesticide residues. Scrape or peel a thin layer of skin before or after cooking. If you do it after, they'll be sweeter and full of more nutrients.
Roasted parsnips are delicious and make a great side dish.
Some people like to substitute parsnips for potatoes. Serve them whole, cut up, or pureed like mashed potatoes. For savory flavor, basil, parsley, thyme, and tarragon complement parsnips. If you're looking to bring out their sweetness, try ginger and nutmeg.
In the next section, we'll explain the many health benefits of parsnips.
Want more information about parsnips? Try:
- Vegetable Recipes: Find delicious recipes that feature parsnips.
- Vegetable Gardens: Grow a full harvest of great vegetables this year.
- Gardening: We answer your questions about all things that come from the garden.
- Parsnip Stain Help: We show you how to get vegetable stains out of fabric.