The wild form of the parsnip has been known for many centuries. The winter vegetable from the umbelliferous family is in season from October/November to April/May. Then you can buy this delicious type of beet fresh at markets or in greengrocers. Also known as mutton carrot or Germanic root, the parsnip has an elongated, turnip-like shape and can grow up to 40 cm long.

Parsnips, the outdated vegetable

What we value as a vegetable is the cultivated form of the parsnip. The wild form has been known for centuries. Thanks to its ingredients and its intense taste, it is a real delicacy for many, which offers a wide variety of preparation methods.

  • Parsnips are one of the oldest crops in this country
  • slender root very similar to radish
  • externally yellowish-brownish
  • yellowish white flesh
  • Flavors only develop after the first frost
  • Parsnips are very tasty, easily digestible and healthy
  • was one of the most important foods until the 18th century
  • later replaced by potatoes and carrots
  • back in trend today

This winter root vegetable is rich in fiber, potassium and vitamins and an important supplier of folic acid, which our body needs for growth processes, cell division and blood formation. It also contains essential oils that give the vegetables their delicate, sweet aroma. The proportion of phosphorus, iron, zinc and magnesium is also remarkable.

Tip:  The fact that parsnips contain a relatively large amount of carbohydrates is a small downside, but this can be overcome due to their many positive properties.

Eating parsnips raw, is that even possible?

Eating parsnips raw is not only possible, it is even recommended. Anyone who has only known them cooked should definitely try them raw, and anyone who hasn’t even known them should try them anyway. The raw parsnip contains most of the nutrients and vitamins. They are also particularly tasty when raw. In contrast to cooked roots, they are fresher, more tender and have a milder taste when raw. You can eat not only the roots, but also the leaves of the parsnip.

Preparation of raw roots

If you want to enjoy this beet raw, you should use the young and smaller tubers in particular, they still have a thin skin, which makes them tenderer and milder than large roots.

  • young tubers do not need to be peeled
  • Peel of young roots can be eaten
  • most valuable ingredients are located directly under the shell
  • they would be removed when peeled
  • Skin of smaller tubers is smooth
  • just wash or brush off
  • older parsnips are usually a little wrinkled
  • are not suitable for raw consumption, must be peeled
  • peel off a thin layer at a time
  • Don’t throw away the bowl

The peel can be frozen and later used to flavor vegetable broths. The raw parsnip can be grated very well and used as an ingredient for crisp winter or raw vegetable salads, prepared like celery or cut into strips and used as a raw snack with delicious dips.

Tip:  After peeling, parsnips should be placed in cold water because, like potatoes, they quickly turn brown when exposed to light. However, this is only an optical defect and does not detract from the taste.

This is what parsnips taste like

Parsnips are generally easily digestible and fill you up for a relatively long time. As far as the taste is concerned, it is much sweeter, spicier and spicier than that of the carrot. When raw, it tastes sweet and nutty to spicy and hot. Like kale, it only reaches its full sweetness when it has gotten frost. When cooked, it’s more of a mix between carrot and celery.

Leaves too good for the garbage
The leaves should not be thrown away under any circumstances. They can also be eaten raw and, like parsley, used as an herb for stews, used in salads or used in a green smoothie. You can harvest them from May to August.

The herb is just as tender as the root and also rich in healthy ingredients, provided they are fresh. Parsnips can be frozen and later used to flavor various dishes as needed. In addition, they can be cooked without losing much of their flavor.

Tip:  It is advisable to wear gloves when harvesting the leaves, as they can cause skin irritation and blistering in sensitive people. So-called furocoumarins are responsible for this.

What to look out for when buying?

As already mentioned, these winter vegetables are in season from late October to early April. When growing them in the garden, they should not be harvested before the first frost. Self-grown tubers should remain in the bed for as long as possible.

  • purchased roots should not be too large
  • smaller, are more tender and tastier
  • ideally around 20 cm long and around 300 g in weight
  • they should be firm, with a smooth skin
  • larger specimens mostly woody
  • avoid soft, wrinkled roots and those with bruises
  • store in the fridge
  • wrapped in damp kitchen paper, fresh for two to four weeks

Winter is root vegetable season, which includes parsnips. They look like a white carrot and are confusingly similar to parsley roots. You can eat turnips and leaves both cooked and raw. Eating them raw is more recommended, however, as they retain all of their valuable ingredients when raw.

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