Anaemic brethren of the carrot, the parsnip is a firm favourite in the Thirsty Gardeners’ allotment. We love their high yields, and we love that you can sow them in spring then pretty much forget about them until January.
Leaving parsnips in the earth beyond the first frosts of winter will improve their taste… the cold weather will encourage the starches in the root to turn to sugar.
For this reason, we have only just harvested our crop. It has absolutely nothing to do with any forgetfulness or laziness on our part.
Glancing at our rooty bounty, it would appear we were a tad heavy handed with the sowing last spring. Here’s the five ways with which we will conquer our parsnip mountain.
The crisp aisles of posh supermarkets are awash with fancy alternatives to the potato, and the parsnip crisp is right up there with the tastiest*. Make them at home by shaving a parsnip with a potato peeler. Lightly brush with olive oil and sea salt, then bake on a tray in a pre-heated oven at 180° for 10 minutes.
Parsnip mash can be rather sweet, so go half and half with potatoes or carrots and add a pinch or two of cumin if you feel spicy. Simmer for 20 minutes then mash together with a dash of milk and plenty of butter.
Forget smearing them with a pre-roast honey glaze…. late harvested parsnips will be sweet enough without any bee-based interference.
Parboil for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and shake around in a colander for a crispy texture when cooked.
Place them in a baking tray along with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and roast for 40 minutes at 200°c.
Alternatively, cut a parsnip into a potato shape and sneak it in amongst the potatoes for Sunday luncheon ‘parsnip roulette’.
Roast four large parsnips for 40 minutes, along with a couple of cloves of garlic, a large onion and a sprinkling of cumin. Add the roasted veg to 2 pints of vegetable stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Blend well with a… er… blender then add a small cupful of double cream. Soup-er.
The finest use for your surplus parsnips.
You’ll need 3-4lb of them, depending on which recipe you choose. Go here for our easy, fail safe parsnip wine recipes.
*Behind corn, obviously. And maize. And wheat. And beetroot for that matter.