This recipe is for everyone with a sweet tooth. The sugar in the parsnips comes to the fore when paired with maple syrup, which cooks down to a beautiful nut-brown glaze.
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Parsnips are sweeter than carrots, easy to prepare, and have a long shelf life. They are wonderful pureed, but they are also great roasted with other vegetables. Parsnips are a real cold-weather treat, only developing their full flavor after exposure to extended periods of cooler weather. In response to declining temperatures, parsnips, like carrots (both members of the Umbelliferae family, along with celery, parsley and fennel), begin converting starches to sugar, presumably to act as an antifreeze to prevent cells from rupturing in the cold. A variety of wild parsnip grew over much of Central and Southern Europe and has been introduced into the British Isles and Northern Europe, but the cultivated varieties are sweeter and plumper.
Handling: Treat parsnips as you would a carrot. If the parsnip is large, you must remove its woody core by digging it out with the end of a vegetable peeler or sharp spoon.
Storage: Parsnips should be unwashed and put in a plastic bag in the fridge. They will last several months this way. Owing to their wonderful storability, parsnips are available all year round, but are best harvested fresh in the fall, winter or spring (having overwintered in the ground).
Freezing: 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 containers, leaving ½-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.