Hand drawn image of Parsnips

Parsnips

ˈpɑːsnɪp Pastinaca sativa

Organic parsnips. One of the joys of winter: sweet, gutsy and very easy to cook. They taste even better after the first frost – the cold weather converts some of the starch to sugar, increasing the sweetness. Their flavour is easily lifted by all sorts of spices.

Image of Parsnips being produced

In the kitchen

Storage

Store for a week or so on a cool veg rack or in the bottom of the fridge. Even if they’ve gone a bit floppy, the flavour is generally still fine. The skin is edible, so only peel if you want to.

Prep & Cooking tips

The easiest way to clean parsnips is to soak them in water for a few mins to soften any mud before scrubbing or peeling. The skins are perfectly edible, so there’s no need to peel parsnips unless you want to. The central core should be tender, but at the end of the season (from March onwards) consider quartering the parsnip lengthways and trimming it out.
Roasting intensifies the sweetness of parsnip to tender, caramelised sublimity. Cut into batons or wedges and roast, with a shake of spice and a swirl of runny honey for the last 10 mins in the tray. Enjoy alongside a roast, with other root veg, feta cheese and lentils, or add to a winter salad. Also good in warming gratins and soups.
Parsnips can be boiled or steamed for serving as a side with melted butter and fresh herbs – or for mashing, puréeing or mixing with greens and frying in patties as a seasonal twist on bubble and squeak.

Video: How to Cook Parsnips "

Easy ideas

1. Roast

It’s no secret that parsnips are wonderful cut into wedges or batons and roasted. They can benefit from a shake of spice (think cumin, caraway or coriander seed) and a swirl of runny honey for the last 10 mins in the tray.

2. Purée

Peel and chop before simmering gently in a well-seasoned half-half mix of water and whole milk, with a bay leaf added. Remove with a slotted spoon and purée in a food processor, adding in the boiling liquid until you have your desired consistency. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and some toasted flaked almonds.

3. Potato proxy

You can replace potatoes with parsnips in myriad menus. Think gratins, mash, roasts and even chips. They’ll cook slightly quicker and taste sweeter.

4. Soup

Parsnips add a creamy texture and sweet flavour to soup. Fry off an onion or leek, add parsnips, cover with stock and simmer until tender. Add a little apple for a sweet-sharp taste, and/or curried spices for an extra warming bowlful.

Goes well with

Apple
Dairy
Herbs
Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley, Chives, Tarragon, Coriander
Honey and maple syrup
Mustard
Nuts
Spices
Nutmeg, Cumin, Coriander, Turmeric and other Indian spices
Sweet dried fruit

Parsnips recipes

View all Parsnips recipes

In the field

  • Image of Neil & Gary Farley

    Meet the grower: Neil & Gary Farley, Cullompton, Devon

    Located on sandy land in Devon, the Farleys’ farm is perfect for potato growing – it’s their biggest crop at about 70 acres – followed by the root veg, beetroot and the artichokes.

    Read more

Seasonality

Our season runs from November to April. They’re at their very best between December and February.
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