Getting Snippy: Parsnip Tips and Tricks

Parsnips have a sweet history. Literally. Used as an alternative sugar during the Roman Empire (and even considered an aphrodisiac), parsnips are a great sweet substitution to carrots, as parsnips have a similar, yet more complex, flavor profile. A fresh parsnip can be a killer addition to a seasonal menu, but it’s important to approach them with some fresh knowledge. Grow your parsnip skillset with these tips and tricks.

  • Parsnips get sweeter when the weather gets colder, so they’re at their absolute best during the end of winter and the beginning of spring. That being said, you’ll still get an excellent product when their peak season starts in the fall. 
  • Bigger isn’t always better. Avoid buying large parsnips, as they’re significantly tougher than their smaller counterparts. If you do end up with with a large parsnip, be sure to remove the core, as it has an unpalatable toughness that isn’t present in small cores. 
  • Parsnip greens can tell you a lot about the freshness of your overall product. They don’t last nearly as long as the root, so if they’re still attached and aren’t wilted, you know the veggie is safe. 
  • A lot of the flavor of parsnips lies just beneath the skin, so it can be a little risky to use a vegetable peeler. To ensure that you get the sweetest product, we’d recommend scrubbing them for best results. 
  • The shelf life of parsnips can vary, but they’ll typically last in the refrigerator for three weeks or so. For best results, trim off any remaining greens and store the unwashed  root in a plastic bag.  
  • While you can serve parsnips raw, they really excel when cooked. Luckily for us, you can cook them just about any way you see fit. Whether you prefer roasting, mashing, stewing, or sautéing, parsnips have you covered.