It’s that time of year again when I pick up a fresh packet of parsnip seeds and get them in the ground. I mention “fresh” because parsnip seeds don’t seem to do well if you’ve had them for more than a year. You may be thinking it’s a little too early to sow seeds, but in fact parsnips need a long growing season and so getting them in the ground early is important. Remember that they endure the entire winter without a problem so a little frost won’t be a problem.
Actually, I just harvested last year’s crop a few weeks ago and had some for lunch yesterday. Leaving them in the ground right through winter is not an issue. In fact, they taste better if you do. Once the ground is workable, I loosen the soil around them with a garden fork and pull them up.
Now, I read recently that parsnips is the least favorite of all vegetables in the United States. I find that hard to believe. Folks must not be preparing them properly. Some think they ought to be boiled, and if that’s the case I can understand why they are not their favorites. We always roast them in the oven as we do beets, turnips, brussel sprouts and a host of other vegetables. For one, they’re more nutritious if you roast them and the natural sugars work their way to the surface giving them an nearly “glazed” appearance and flavor. We simply chop them up, mix them in a large bowl along with olive oil and some of our favorite Mediterranean seasonings and then bake them in the oven for about 30 – 40 minutes at 350 degrees. You can even mix root vegetables like onion, beets and turnip along with your parsnips for a root vegetable medley. Yum!!!