how I learned to love parsnips

How I learned to love parsnips

This is the complicated story of how I learned to love parsnips. Please read with caution, because you, too, might learn to love parsnips as much as I do.

Parsnips are the only food that I have ever hated. Recently, I bought a package of parsnips. They reminded me of carrots, but with a creamy white color. I like carrots, so I thought I should really like parsnips, too.

Boy, was I ever wrong about that.

My first taste of parsnips was bad

When I got home from the grocery store, I took a bite. Yuck, parsnips tasted worse than any food I had ever eaten.

To me, the raw parsnip did taste a little like a carrot, but also had an earthy taste like a potato. It was a horrible combination and way too fibrous to be eaten raw.

My first instinct was to spit it out. However, I rose above my animal instinct of revulsion. I chewed my parsnip and swallowed it. Afterwards, I felt uncomfortably nauseous.

Ways to prepare parsnips

Rather than throw the otherwise healthy vegetable away, I tried different ways to make it taste appetizing. Instructions on the plastic wrapping suggested that parsnips would be good stewed, whipped, roasted, or pan-fried.

I added parsnips to my stew

Since I was going to have stew for my lunch anyway, I decided to add the parsnips into my mixture of fish, potatoes, onions, and green beans. For added flavor, I added olive oil, salt and pepper.

The stew smelled pretty good, but when I tasted the parsnips, they almost made me gag. They became mushy, and their squishy texture amplified their horrible taste.

Wasting any food is a sin

My culinary adventure with parsnips appeared hopeless. Still, I hated to waste food, no matter how bad it tasted. There are too many hungry people in the world, I reasoned, and I would have felt guilty to throw it in the garbage.

Roasted or broiled

So, the next morning I tried another preparation. This time, I broiled my parsnips in the oven.

First, I cut a long fibrous parsnip root into thin slices, just like I did with the stew. Then, I tossed in some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled it with salt.

parsnip slices
I made slices out of my parsnip root,
then I added olive oil and salt

photo by Doug Martin

broiled parsnips
I broiled my parsnip slices for 35 minutes
at 350 degrees

photo by Doug Martin

Broil for 30 minutes at 350 degrees

I had already placed a russet potato into the oven. It was set at 350 degrees. 20 minutes later, I added the parsnip slices and kept the same temperature.

After 30 minutes, my parsnips were developing a golden hue. I anxiously sampled a few slices as each minute went by. They were tasting better by the minute.

After 35 minutes, they were turning a crispy brown. That’s when I pulled them out and placed them on my plate.

crispy parsnip slices
After 30-to-35 minutes, the parsnip
slices were crispy but also still soft

photo by Doug Martin

Broiling made the parsnips taste good

I was surprised to find that my broiled parsnips felt slightly crispy on the outside, but were still soft and fleshy inside. My biggest surprise of all was that they actually tasted good!

And I don’t mean just good, but they tasted really, really good. In fact, they reminded me of a ripe, sweet banana that had been fried.

Broiled parsnips and ice cream are a good combo

Wow, I thought, as I relished my surprisingly good parsnips. These would really taste good with ice cream.

Unfortunately, I’m a type 1 diabetic who has a weakness for ice cream. That’s why I can never keep the sweet treat in my house. I can’t resist it, and will always over-indulge.

However, I found a good recipe for ice cream which I might try to make someday. It’s a delectable roasted parsnip, ginger, and maple ice cream combination. Watch the video below for the recipe and instructions.

For me, I think roasted parsnips and plain vanilla ice cream would be perfect together.

Video from Miedema Produce

For the crispiest parsnips, you need a good convection oven

Your kids and grandkids might learn to love parsnips, too

By using the ice cream and parsnips combination, I think your children and grandchildren might learn to love this healthy vegetable. In fact, I think I have learned to love this previously unappetizing root crop.

Broil or even grill your parsnips. Then, dip them into vanilla ice cream. The ingredients will have a tantalizing contrast of saltiness and sweetness. My mouth waters just thinking about that succulent combination.

Storing tips for parsnips

Parsnips should be refrigerated. I kept mine in the original plastic wrapper and placed it in the crisper drawer. You can also wrap them in a paper towel and place in the refrigerator.

It’s best to not wash parsnips until you are ready to eat or prepare them.

Stored properly, your refrigerated parsnips might last two weeks. I ate all four of my parsnip roots within two days, but I still kept them in the vegetable crisper drawer for safekeeping.

Health benefits of parsnips

As you can imagine, parsnips have many health benefits. They are a root vegetable like carrots, red beets, potatoes, and onions. Just like red beets, parsnips provide beneficial fiber.

In addition, parsnips are rich in vitamin C, vitamins B-6 and B-12, along with ample amounts of magnesium, zinc, folate, thiamin, and phosphorus.

That’s how I learned to love parsnips

That’s the innocent story about how I learned to love parsnips. I still don’t like them in a soup or stew. For me, they are best when I broil, fry, or grill them. When I do, my parsnips taste banana-sweet and salty at the same time.

Do you love parsnips? What’s your favorite way to prepare them? Do you like them raw? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.

By Doug Martin, Opportunity Muse.

Photos, graphics, and writing are copyright © protected
by Doug Martin and Opportunity Muse.
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