PARSNIPS

Pastinaca sativa

Although parsnips didn’t come onto the scene in this country until the 17th century, they grew wildly and were heavily cultivated in Europe, being even more popular than carrots during medieval times.  I had never even heard of a parsnip until I started farming in 2003.  One of the first beds we cultivated that spring was the parsnip bed from the year before.  All these carrot-like roots were popping up out of the ground.  I took some home and added them to the traditional potatoes and carrots cooked along with a pot roast and was impressed!  Sweeter than carrots and with a creamier consistancy, parsnips are packed full of minerals, vitamin C, and vegetable protein.  They will store for at least a month in a plastic bag in the refrigerater.  We’ve actually stored parsnips for much longer this way.

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Oven-Fried Parsnips
From From Asparagus to Zucchini

2 pounds parsnips
2 tbsps. olive oil
coarse sea salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Peel parsnips (optional; we never peel ours!).  Cut them crosswise into 2 1/2 inch chunks, slice the chunks lengthwise into 1/4 inch-thick planks, and cut planks into sticks.  Toss with olive oil and a little sea salt.  Spread in a single layer on baking sheets.  Bake 15 minutes; toss well and add additional salt.  Continue to bake, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes total.  Makes 4-6 servings.

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