How to Cook Parsnips

Parsnips, more popular than potatoes in medieval times, have never been an American favorite. You may relish the opportunity to cook up this underappreciated dish.

Availability: All year: peak October to March.

Buying Guide: Look for straight, small (5- to 10-inch) smooth-skinned roots. Large ones may have woody cores. Avoid parsnips that are limp or shriveled or that have splits or brown spots.

Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag up to 10 days.

History: This carrot family member is ivory or pale yellow and tastes like a combination of a carrot and a sweet potato with an appealing nutty flavor. Since farmers believe frost improves the flavor, parsnips are not harvested until after the first cold spell.

  1. To prepare parsnips, peel with vegetable peeler. Trim ends and cut into 3/4-inch chunks.

    Trim the end of the parsnip into 3/4-inch chunks.
    Trim the end of the parsnip
    into 3/4-inch chunks.
  2. Pour 1 inch water into medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat; add parsnip chunks. Cover; boil 10 minutes or until parsnips are fork-tender. Drain. Place in large bowl. Coarsely mash with fork; if desired.

    Coarsely mash the parsnips after they've been boiled.
    Coarsely mash the parsnips
    after they've been boiled.

In the next section, we will show you how to prepare one of the sweetest vegetables you can eat -- beets.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Vegetable Recipes: Both tasty and good for you, vegetables are a great vehicle to try out new seasonings and cooking methods. Find plenty of ideas on our Vegetable Recipes page.
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  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.