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Parsnips -- Information

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Category: Vegetables

 Ingredients List

  • 3/4 c Chopped parsnip


The parsnip is a humble root that has endured for centuries. Europeans
brought the parsnip to the United States in the early 1600s, but this
creamy-white root has never become an American favorite.

Now, these old-fashioned vegetables have gained renewed favor because
they're a good source of complex carbohydrates and contain little fat and
no cholesterol.

Parsnips can be described as off-white carrot look-alikes. The variety we
are familiar with was developed in the Middle Ages, according to "On Food
and Cooking" by Harold McGee.

Availability: Fresh parsnips are available year-round, with the peak times
being fall and winter.

Selection and storage: Look for small to medium, well-shaped parsnips;
larger ones can be woody inside. Avoid limp or shriveled parsnips and ones
with bruises or cuts.

Parsnips can be refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to two weeks. But
don't store them near apples, pears, and other fruits because the ethylene
gas produced from these fruits can make parsnips bitter, say Kathleen Mayes
and Sandra Gottfried in "Roots: A Vegetarian Bounty."

Preparation: Parsnips have a sweet flavor and, because they are root
vegetables, an earthy character. They can be used just as you would use
carrots and are suitable for almost any method of cooking, including
baking, boiling, and steaming. The traditional preparation is to boil,
butter, and mash them.

They are a favorite ingredient in broths, stocks, and stews, but also
combine well with greens and other root vegetables. Parsnips make a good
side dish for almost any type of meat.

Brown them in butter to surround a roast, or try them roasted or grilled.
For a different taste, chop and saute parsnips with chopped tart apples.

Parsnips turn mushy when overcooked, so add them to soups, stews, and
sautes near the end of cooking time, Sharon Tyler Herbst advises in "The
Food Lover's Tiptionary."

Nutritional highlights: 1/2 cup cooked parsnip or 3/4 cup raw parsnip*
contains 63 calories, less than one gram of fat. They are a good source of
complex carbohydrates and potassium and a fair source of calcium. Parsnips
also contain small amounts of iron and vitamin C.

*1/2 cup parsnip 42.4 cals, 3.4%cff, (0.2g fat), 10.2g carbs, (2.8g fiber),
0.7g protein; 6mg sodium Analysis by MasterCook3.

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