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Look for small to medium, well-shaped roots. The roots should not have a lot of hair like rootlets. Avoid limp, shriveled or spotted parsnips as they are likely to be more fibrous. Dark spots can indicate decay or freezer-burn. Choose parsnips with a creamy-white, smooth, firm surface.
Avoid irregularly shaped parsnips if you're concerned about wastage. Parsnips that aren't well-shaped require extensive trimming to prepare the vegetables for cooking.
Most parsnips are sold with their tops already clipped. If the leafy tops are still present, they should look fresh and green, not limp, wilted or browning.
Parsnips store well for 2-3 weeks in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator vegetable crisper. If the green tops are still attached, remove them before storing, or they will draw moisture from the roots. Do not wash before storing.
Cooked parsnips can be refrigerated and used within three days.
To freeze, select small to medium, firm parsnips that are tender and have a mild flavor. Wash, peel and cut into ½-inch cubes. Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes. Cool promptly in cold water and drain. Pack into freezer bags or containers, leaving room at the top. Seal and freeze. Parsnips can be frozen for 8 to 10 months. Fully cooked parsnip purée may also be frozen for up to 10 months.
Parsnips are suitable for almost any method of cooking including baking, boiling, sautéing and steaming. They have a nutty, spicy, peppery flavor that is well suited to longer cooking times, as in casseroles and stews, or oven-roasted on their own. It also does quite well microwaved, steamed or boiled.
Before using, rinse well, trimming the root and leaf ends. If the parsnips are small and young, you can clean with a vegetable brush instead of peeling. Larger parsnips may need to be peeled and have their woody cores removed before cooking. Be careful not to overcook parsnips as their flavor is sweetest when just tender.
Note: Peeled and trimmed parsnips will turn dark when exposed to the air so cook them immediately or keep them in water with a little bit of lemon juice until ready to cook. FYI: 1 pound parsnips = 4 servings 1 pound = 4 to 6 small parsnips 1 pound = 2-1/2 cups diced, cooked parsnips
Baking Put whole or cubed parsnips in a covered baking dish. For savory results, season with broth and herbs and for sweet, cook as you would sweet potatoes, with orange juice, brown sugar, ginger and nutmeg. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes in a 350ÃŒÅ F oven.
Boiling Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Drop whole or cut-up parsnips into the water and simmer until tender. Cook about 5 to 15 minutes or until tender.
Microwaving Cut parsnips into large chunks the same size and place in a microwaveable dish with about 2 tablespoons of water. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap that has a few holes poked in it for steam to escape. Cook on high until tender, about 4 to 6 minutes.
Puréeing Boil, microwave or steam parsnips until very tender. Save some of the cooking liquid. In a blender or food processor, carefully place the cooked parsnips. Process until smooth. If purée is too thick or lumpy, add a very small amount of the cooking liquid and process again until smooth.
Roasting In a roasting pan or on a lightly oiled baking sheet, place parsnip slices or cubes. Cook for 30-40 minutes at 425ÃŒÅ F, turning once, until softened. If desired, season parsnip before cooking with salt, pepper and spices or brush lightly with olive oil.
Steaming Cook, trimmed, well-scrubbed parsnips in a steam and cook over boiling water. Or, place them in a saucepan with ½-inch boiling, salted water. Cover and cook until tender. Let cool and peel. For whole parsnips cook 20 to 40 minutes, for cut-up pieces 5 to 15 minutes, depending on size and age.
To bring out their sweetness, season with nutmeg, ginger, mace or cinnamon and a little brown sugar. Classic preparations include mashed parsnips topped with buttered bread crumbs, glazed and partnered with roasted meats or game, creamed or in mixed vegetable soups. Parsnips may be substituted for carrots in most recipes.
FYI: The first frost of the year converts the starch in parsnips to sugar and gives it a pleasantly sweet flavor.
Tip: To avoid mushy parsnips, add them to soups and stews near the end of the cooking time.
Healthy Ways to Enjoy Parsnip:
Parsnips are perfect for putting on plates,
Parsnips are perfect for roasting and bakes,
Parsnips are pleasure when teamed up with steaks,
Parsnips are something to share with your mates! From:www.freshforkids.com
Parsnips are a cold weather root vegetable that look like ivory-colored carrots. They have a mild celery-like fragrance and a sweet, nutty flavor that is perfect for hearty fall and winter meals.
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