Expanding your root vegetable repertoire: The perks of parsnips


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Wintertime calls for cozy scarves, a roaring fire and hearty meals that fuel the belly and the soul. Lucky for us, it’s parsnip season, and this unattractive but delicious root vegetable is sure to warm you up even on the chilliest of days.

Here’s everything you ever (or never) wanted to know about parsnips:

  • Parsnip consumption dates back at least 2,000 years — the fact that they’re very easily prepared may have something to do with it.


  • A winter vegetable, parsnips are in season from October to February. Their flavor is enhanced by frost, so this is the perfect time of year to eat them.


  • Parsnips’ relatives include fennel, celery, carrots and chervil. Let’s be honest; nothing from the root vegetable family is going to be getting ogled by Brent Musburger anytime soon. But in the grand scheme of things, parsnips aren’t really THAT ugly; they basically resemble a dirty, ivory-colored carrot.


  • When you’re shopping, don’t take the big parsnips. Just don’t. Small and medium parsnips are much more flavorful and tender. They’ll keep for two to three weeks in your crisper.


  • Parsnips are good for you! They provide fiber, potassium, folic acid and not one but two vitamins — C and K.


  • Even though parsnips look like carrots, don’t eat them raw like you would carrots. They have a nutty, sweet flavor that is positively delectable after cooking.


  • Photo: BonAppetit.com

    Speaking of cooking, parsnips offer the benefit of versatility — bake them (like these parsnip fries with rosemary), roast them (try with carrots like this recipe), or serve them with just about any type of meat or fish (like this roasted salmon with parsnips and ginger).


Bon appetit!