Parsnips, a member of the umbelliferae family, closely resemble their relatives parsley and carrot. Parsnips are generally thicker than carrots and paler in color. Their flavor has been described as nutty, spicy, or peppery, and they are a good source of fiber and folate. Parsnips are available from fall to early summer – they can stay in the ground over winter and tend to be sweeter after a frost.
Storage: Remove greens from the tops of parsnips and then store in a paper bag in the refrigerator drawer. Although they will keep for up to a month in the fridge, parnsips become more bitter with age and are best eaten fresh.
Preparation: Scrub parsnips well and slice or chop as you would a carrot. Very large parsnips may need to have their woody cores removed. Cut off the thin end and set aside. Then cut the thick portion in half and dig out the core with a sharp spoon. Discard the core and chop the vegetable as usual. Parsnips can be eaten raw like carrots, but are more delicious and digestible when cooked. They are well suited for prolonged cooking, as in casseroles, stews, or oven roasting. To preserve nutrients, cook with the skin on and eat it, or peel after cooking. Parnips can be steamed, boiled, sauteed, or braised. Try combining parnsips with other root vegetables like beets, carrots, and potatoes. Toss with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and roast in a 400 degree oven, stirring occaisionally until browned and cooked through.