Food – Parsnip, A Cousin of the Carrot

The parsnip’s unique flavor comes after the first frost, when the vegetable is still in the ground. Many times the parsnip is harvested before the first frost and thus loses that unique flavor.

“Parsnips look like an anemic version of their cousin, the carrot. The parsnip’s starchy root, however, is one of the most nourishing in the whole carrot family. This starch is converted to sugar whenever the root is exposed to the frost. Parsnip isn’t a common vegetable anymore, even though most of us have heard of it. … Refrigerated in a plastic bag, parsnips keep for nearly a month.

“Fatigue Fighter and Cleanser. Imagine a food so highly concentrated with energy-giving properties that it is a remarkable internal cleansing agent as well. Such a one is parsnip, which is loaded with more food energy than most of our common vegetables except potatoes, yet is a relatively strong diuretic for helping to remove toxins from the body.

“A diet of parsnips, steamed or baked for lunch and dinner for at least a week, becomes an extremely valuable cleansing agent and has even assisted in getting rid of some stones in the kidneys and bladder. Parsnips in the diet once a day or at least every other day is very useful for strengthening those who have hypoglycemia or are just recently recovering from serious illness or surgery or both. [Emphasis author’s.]

“Save the juice left from cooked parsnips and drink a glass morning and evening for up to 6 weeks to get rid of gallstones. This is an old remedy from colonial America, which was introduced by the renowned eighteenth-century religious reformer the Reverend John Wesley.” Heinerman’s New Encyclopedia of Fruits & Vegetables, page 338, by Parker Publishing Company, Inc. 1995.

Small, tender parsnips may be peeled, grated and put into salads. Parsnips are best roasted in the oven, although many like them steamed and mashed like potatoes. You can add them to soups and stews near the end of the cooking time. Peeled and pared parsnips will turn dark when exposed to the air, so cook them right away or hold them in water with lemon juice added. Parsnips may also be substituted for carrots in most recipes.

Carrot-Parsnip Mash
6 medium peeled parsnips ½ tsp. salt, optional
6 medium carrots, washed or peeled
Place peeled parsnips and carrots in a pot of water. Bring to boil and simmer until tender. Drain, mash and season. Or, in the alternative: You may cut parsnips and carrots into chunks, boil and drain. Or cook parsnips with potatoes and mash together when done.