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Parsnips

Apr 03, 2017

This carrot look-alike is one versatile vegetable.

Availability & Origin
Parsnips are available year-round, though they peak during the winter. In the United States, Michigan, New York, Washington, and California are our top producers. The most prominent world-wide growers are  Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

Appearance & Flavor
Similar in shape to a carrot, parsnips are much sweeter, plus they have a nutty undertone. No orange here... Parsnips range from yellowish beige to bright white. They have a smooth skin and their flesh is white and creamy with a fine grain. If you're looking for a sweeter parsnip, chose the whitest and the smallest ones you can find-the smaller or whiter they are, the sweeter. Check your parsnips for firmness and intact roots, and avoid any with yellowing or brown cores that are beginning to shrivel.

Storage
When whole, wash your parsnips, cut off the tops, and let them air dry. After loosely wrapping them in a plastic bag and putting them in the back of the crisper, you should get two to five months from them. If they are already cut, store them loosely-covered in cold water or wrap them in a moist paper towel to get a few days-worth of use.

Ways to Enjoy
There are endless ways to prepare the parsnip. Baked, broiled, roasted, fried, steamed, pureed, in soups, in stews, and in casseroles. And we saved the best for last: you can make your own wine out of them.

History
Native to Europe and Asia and cultivated by the Romans, parsnip taproots were used to add starch to meals for several decades prior to potatoes. They are said to have come to the U.S. with the colonists in the early 16th century.

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