Parsnips require the kiss of a light frost to sweeten up underground, they start in winter and continue on into early spring. Looking like a ghostly carrot, parsnips lack the beta-carotene and bright color that their cousin the carrot can boast, but they are good sources of fiber and vitamin C and have a naturally sweeter flavor than the carrot.
Parsnips are in the parsley family and are related to celery, fennel, dill, and coriander. You eat the taproot of the plant as you would a beet, radish, or carrot.
Carrots and parsnips definitely have distinct flavors, but they are complimentary enough that they can serve as a substitute for one another in most recipes. When combined the flavor of the parsnip will be dominant.
Methods for cooking parsnips are: sautéing, roasting, grating raw for salads, in soups or stews, steaming, boiling, simmer in water then puree as a side dish, cut into sticks and served as a snack with hummus or dip.
You can eat the skin of your parsnips (The skin is actually where the most nutrients are.), but their texture is not smooth like a carrot. They are more fibrous and bumpy so some people might prefer to peel them for the aesthetic appeal of certain dishes.
Peeled or cut parsnips tend to brown quickly. To avoid this, either cook immediately or set them in a bowl of water with a little bit of lemon juice until you’re ready to start cooking.
The parsnips in your AHO produce boxes are likely too small to need to cut out the core, but the core of larger parsnips tends to get woody and needs to be removed before cooking. Complementary herbs in parsnip dishes include basil, dill, parsley, thyme, and tarragon.
Keep parsnips unwashed until you are ready to use them. To wash, scrub with a vegetable brush or rough side of a kitchen sponge and water. Parsnips can become bitter if exposed to the ethylene gas emitted by certain fruits as they ripen, so store them separately, sealed in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.