Monday, April 15, 2013

Parsnips, spring treats!

Parsnips just dug in the field
Parsnips awaiting scrubbing and chopping

Parsnips cooking!!!

Here is one of my favorite treats of the farm harvest year.  These spring dug, overwintered Parsnips are one of the tastier things in life.  You just cannot purchase parsnips with flavor like this in a grocery store.

It takes a bit of planning, and parsnip planting time is coming right up.  I like to get seeds in the ground in late April or early May.  Parsnip seed is only viable for one season, so make sure you get seed for the 2013 season. Don't plant last years left over seed either, get new seed.  Then Parsnips take about 30 days to germinate, so patience is required.  Many home growers plant a line of radishes an inch away from the Parsnips.  Radishes mature in 30 days so the timing is usually good.

Water, weed, thin and wait.  You can mulch the parsnips in the fall, but the freezing of the soil will not damage the root and just improves the flavor.  Try it for yourself, dig a parsnip in the fall, the flavor will be a bit harsh, almost bitter.  But after a few months of freezing weather in the fall and winter, dig up another one, the flavor will be rich, sweet and irresistible!  Parsnips are easy to store, just leave them in the ground! If you have any left, you will need to dig them in the spring once they start to grow a new green top again. The texture of the root will change and get too woody to eat.  You can always leave a few to go to seed if you like to collect your own seeds.

My current favorite cooking method is just to wash, slice and slowly braise or sauté' the roots in coconut oil with a pat of butter added about 10 to 15 minutes into the process, I also sometimes add a 1/4 cup of water and put a lid over the pan for 5 minutes to soften the parsnips a bit more.  Parsnips are also great added to roasts, chicken or meat or veggies.  Shredded raw parsnips can make a great curry style coleslaw.  You can go to my web site, and click on the recipe link for more recipes.

ENJOY!  Farmer Melinda