Parsnips are a vegetable that’s not talked about too often, but it really should be. They are similar to carrots but have a completely different flavor and texture, they can be used in a wide variety of dishes, highly improving the taste and they are incredibly healthy. They are great when added to stews, soups, and salads – it’s even possible to eat them on their own as a light snack! Overall, they’re just great.
That’s why, today, we will teach you how to prepare parsnips properly so that you may enjoy them fully. But first, let’s talk about why parsnips are so great.
What Are Parsnips?
Parsnips are vegetables closely related to carrot and parsley and are grown in much the same way as those two vegetables. It is significantly larger, though and can be much sweeter, especially if it survives winter frosts. To bring out the most of its sweet taste it needs to be cooked.
They have been cultivated and used in a wide variety of dishes since ancient times. As a testament to their sweetness, parsnips were the primary source of sugar in Europe for a long time.
These vegetables can be used in a wide variety of dishes and can be prepared in many different ways – baking, boiling, cooking, steaming, frying and so on, are all legitimate ways of preparation. They are often used in stews, soups and other similar dishes to improve the taste and make it richer.
Of course, the difference in taste is due to the nutritional contents of the parsnip. For starters, they are mostly water, though they do contain a significant amount of sugar and dietary fiber – 5% each. Because of the dietary fiber they help in digestion and reduce the risk of diabetes as well as heart disease by lowering cholesterol.
They also contain a lot of potassium which reduces blood pressure and helps with stress levels. Plenty of vitamins are also present, including a lot of vitamin C, but most of it is lost in cooking – but you can eat parsnips raw as well.
Another benefit of parsnips is that it can be used as a dietary food. They taste good and fill you up since they contain a lot of soluble fiber. If you’re eating a lot of parsnips you’re less likely to get hungry and snack between meals. Improving your digestion and reducing constipation is just a good bonus.
Now you know the basics about parsnip, and you can start planning the marvelous dishes you can make with them.
Of course, before you prepare your parsnips you have to buy them. This can be tricky as it is not the same as buying carrots or parsley. But, don’t worry; we have a few useful hints for you, coming right up!
How To Choose The Right Parsnips
To make the best dishes with parsnips, you have to get the best ones you can find, of course. However, that’s not always an easy task, and there are a few things you have to be aware of when purchasing them.
For starters, the prime season for parsnips is between September and March, so mostly during the winter. That’s when you will find the freshest parsnips available. If you want sweeter parsnips, purchasing them after the winter is over or near the end, somewhere around February to March, is ideal. That’s when the sweetest ones, which survived the winter frost, are harvested.
You should also buy small to medium parsnips and avoid the big ones. The main reason for this is because bigger parsnips can be fibrous, making them difficult to cook and eat. Some large parsnips might even have completely inedible woody cores. Look for parsnips between 5 and 10 inches in length.
When purchasing, look out for parsnips with a lot of splits and whiskers in them or brownish patches on the skin. This may indicate that they are rotten and past their due date – avoid such specimens.
Darker parsnips are older, and lighter ones are younger. The younger ones can be eaten straight away while the older ones need some peeling. The difference in taste might be noticeable to some, and the older parsnips are usually somewhat sweeter. Keep this in mind and choose what fits you the best.
By following all these tips, you should be able to find the perfect parsnips for the dish you have in mind. But, how do you prepare them? There are many different ways, and we will cover the ones we think are the best right now.
Preparing parsnips depends on what you want to do with them – for salads, it’s usually enough to peel them and cut them into small pieces. However, for other dishes, you might have to put in a little more effort. Here are a few different methods.
First, you need to prepare the parsnips by trimming the roots and leafs then scrubbing them with a vegetable brush while rinsing them under cold water. Once they’re clean, peel them and cut them into tiny cubes.
Now, put them in a large saucepan and cover them with water before putting them over medium-high heat. Boil them for around 10 minutes, or until they are tender. You can check their tenderness with a fork. When they’re finished, drain the water.
Combine some flour with salt and spices in a plastic bag or container. Coat the parsnips in some melted butter before putting them all in the bag and shaking it up to mix the ingredients and completely coat them with seasoned flour.
Heat some butter in a large skillet, also over medium-high heat. It should take a minute or less for it to start sizzling.
Now add the parsnips to the skillet and cook them in it until they become brown. Cook each side for around 2 to 3 minutes before flipping. Keep flipping them at regular intervals until they are completely cooked.
You can now remove them and serve them while hot, either standalone or as a side dish.
Prepare the parsnips by washing them under cold water, removing the roots and leaves and peeling them. Then cut them diagonally into round slices.
Put them in a bowl and toss them with some vegetable oil and salt. Two tablespoons of oil and one teaspoon of salt should be enough.
Now spread them on a baking sheet and make sure they don’t overlap. Dot them all with some melted butter – two tablespoons should be more than enough.
Roast the parsnips for around 20 minutes, then turn them over and let them roast for another 15 minutes at most. When they are brown and tender, they are ready, and you can remove them from the pan and transfer them to a plate.
At this point, you can season them however you like and serve them while they’re hot. You can also mix them with other vegetables in a salad or use them as a standalone side dish.
To start with, you should preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
While it’s heating up, prepare the parsnips by trimming the roots and scrubbing them with a vegetable brush under a stream of cold water. Then peel them and cut them up into long and thin strips, so they look like French fries.
Place the prepared parsnips in a baking dish and dot them with ¼ cup of melted butter – do not use oil. Add the same amount of water to them as well. You can now also sprinkle them with various spices – oregano, pepper, salt, or anything else you may like.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and put it into the oven. Bake the parsnips for around 45 minutes, though they may be done a bit earlier, you should check on them after 30 minutes – if they are tender enough to pierce with a light poke, they’re done.
When they’re done, take them out and serve while hot. They can be eaten on their own, as a side dish or added to other vegetable-based dishes.
Those are the three best ways to prepare parsnips, in our opinion. Of course, you are free to disagree and if you have some better methods, share them in the comments. If you found this article helpful, share it around freely so that others might find this info.
Either way, we hope you have a nice meal and a good day!