We’re coming back around to parsnip season here in the northwest, and we are super excited! Parsnips (Pastinaca sativa) are a delicious root vegetable with a tender, fibrous texture and a sweet flavor. It’s a close relative of parsley and carrots (to which they bear many similarities in taste and shape). Parsnips are delicious in a big mixed veggie roast with salt and pepper, or roasted alone with some curry powder. They also make excellent addition to stews- their rich, sweet flavor adds depth and complexity to the base. Parsnip fries are delicious twist on sweet-potato or carrot fries.
During the height of the Roman Empire, parsnips were prized as a source of sugar and dietary staple high in starch. Emperor Tiberius is reported to have accepted some of Germany’s tribute payment to Rome in parsnips, illustrating the high status the vegetable held. At the time, carrots were still usually white, so there was some trouble distinguishing between carrots and parsnips.What’s the difference between a root veggie and a tuber?
In America, the parsnip has not been quite so highly valued, having been replaced by sugar cane and beets as a source of sugar and by potatoes as a source of starch. However, roasted parsnip is still a central part of many folks’ Christmas dinners, and they remain ubiquitous in grocery stores and farmers markets across the country.
What are your favorite parsnip recipes?