Parsnips

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Parsnips is a root vegetable that comes from the same family as carrot and parsley. It’s mostly used for salads and as a spice. It’s grown in the US in both commercial setting and in private gardens. It grows in the ground but both the root and the leafs can be grown.

It’s most often cooked because that’s when its sweet and easy taste is most prominent but it can also be eaten raw in some cases. Parsnips is also rather easy to grow and produce pretty much everywhere.

Trivia

  • It was once believed that they could cure toothache
  • In some traditions it’s also believed that they cure tired feet
  • Parsnips comes from Asia minor

Buying Guide

Parsnips are usually available all year round but there are also prime seasons when it’s best to buy them. That’s best done in fall and winter since frost will make them sweeter. Even though they can grow quite big it’s best not to buy oversized parsnips since they lose flavor as they grow.

The color of parsnips should be yellow with a creamy hue. If there are any dark marks on the skin, you shouldn’t buy them.

Production & Farming in Texas

Parsnips are root plants and therefore you should think about them and how to grow them the same way you think about other root plants. These includes carrots, potatoes and so on. If your soil and conditions overall are good enough for them, they will be good for parsnips as well.

All parsnip varieties take a long time to mature, with hybrids such ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Javelin’ maturing about as 110 days after sowing. Compare this with 120 days for open-pollinated varieties such as ‘Cobham Improved,’ ‘Andover’ and ‘Harris Model.’  It’s useful to explore different varieties to see which one fits your soil and your needs.

Buy fresh seeds before you plant because the seeds lose their qualities in a year. The parsnips should be planted in late spring especially when the summers are hot as they tend to be in Texas. One week before planting parsnips, place parsnip seeds on a wet paper towel and enclose it in an airtight container. Keep them like this for about five days before planting.

They should be harvested before they reach full maturity because they would be too big and therefore not sweet enough when they are harvested, if you wait too long.

Pesticides

Parsnips are among the dirty dozen vegetables that are considered to be healthy but they are heavily treated with pesticides. As much as 50 of them a year.

Geography

Parsnips originated in Asia minor from which they came to Europe and Asia. There they become a part of the local cuisine and culture. They have been moved from there to America in the 16th century where it has also found a home and become a part of many local dishes and salads.

There’s no climate in which it can’t be grown other than those that are extremely cold and that’s why it’s a rather common vegetable grown both on a large scale and in gardens and by restaurants that grow their own food.

Packaging

Since parsnips are extracted from the ground, they are kept clean and presented in a variety of ways before the point of sale. They are mostly sold in bulk and tied together with a string so that they can be bought that way as well.

There are also sold in one kg bags and sometimes on trays together with other vegetables usually the ones that are also used in a soup or salad.

Eating

Parsnips are mostly cooked but some eat them raw as well. They should be cleaned and peeled and then they are chopped if they used in salads or sliced so that they are easier to manage. There are plenty of dishes you could try with parsnips, ranging from frying to using as a side dish with other boiled vegetables.

They have a sweet taste and that’s to be kept in mind when they are mixed with other vegetables. Too much of it could become overbearing and it’s important to keep the meal balanced in this regard.

Storage

The parsnips should be kept unwashed and unpeeled for long term storage. It’s best to keep it in a simple plastic bag. Placing it like that in a crisp fridge door means that it can be stored for weeks. When it’s cleaned and peeled it can be kept the same way but for days only.

Cooking

Here’s a simple recipe that mixes parsnips with bacon and gets the best of both worlds. There are also countless other ways to use parsnips if this isn’t up to your taste.

Cook 2 strips chopped thick-cut bacon in vegetable oil over medium-high heat until almost crisp. Add 1 thinly sliced onion; cook until softened. Add 1 pound parsnips (peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces), 2 sliced celery stalks, and salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned, 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups chicken broth; simmer until mostly reduced, 10 minutes. Add a little water; stir in 1 tablespoon butter, some chopped parsley and thyme, and salt and pepper.

Nutrition

In addition to being highly nutritious, parsnips also supply many antioxidants.  Antioxidants are health-promoting compounds that help prevent oxidative stress and decrease damage to your cells   Increasing your intake of antioxidants may also protect against chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.  In particular, parsnips are high in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) — a water-soluble vitamin that doubles as a powerful antioxidant.  It also contains polyacetylenes, compounds that may have anticancer properties according to some test-tube studies.

 

When Are Parsnips in Season in Texas?

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  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • September
  • Oktober
  • November
  • December

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Buy Local Farmfresh Parsnips in Texas Directly from the Producer

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Eden East Farm

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Finca Pura Vida

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My Father’s Farms

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Savvy Organics Farm

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SunFood Farm

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Urban Patchwork