Parsnip is a carrot lookalike but lighter in color. This root vegetable is sweeter than carrot and has many culinary uses. Parsnips are native to Eurasia and are generally confused with carrots. In the earlier days, when potatoes were still not in use, the starchy parsnips and parsnip recipes were the most common amongst a lot of people as these vegetables have similar characteristics. This root vegetable could be cooked in many ways, such as boiled, roasted, and even stewed. Frying is another way to cook parsnip.
History of Parsnips and Parsnip Recipes
Parsnip is native to the Mediterranean region today. However, it was Romans who are known to have first cultivated this root vegetable. Parsnips were introduced into northern and central Europe when the Roman Empire expanded its regime. An interesting fact is that, during the Roman time one could find only white and purple parsnips. However, in those days, the full grown parsnips were just the size of a baby carrot. Over time, they evolved and what we see today are parsnips that are as big as or even bigger than carrots and parsnip recipes are quite popular in most parts of Europe. In early days, parsnip was served sweetened with honey and also fruited cakes and desserts used parsnip.
Culinary Uses of Parsnips
Parsnip is quite delicious and sweet when eaten raw; however, this vegetable tastes quite good when it is roasted. In fact, this roasted parsnip recipe is quite popular as part of the Christmas dinner in most of the English speaking countries. Other popular culinary uses of parsnips are by stewing, boiling, braising and even sautéing. Some other uses of parsnip are in soups and as a thickener in certain foods. Making appetizers and side dishes are also some other culinary uses of the sweet and delicate parsnip.
Popular Parsnip Recipes of Various Cuisines
Parsnip is not only rich in dietary fiber, but also in vitamins and minerals such as potassium. This nutritious low-in-calories root vegetable is used in many cuisines across the world. Some popular parsnip recipes are –
- Jewish – Classic Chicken Soup is a popular Jewish parsnip recipe that is made with chicken, egg noodles and certain herbs and spices. All the ingredients are cooked together to make this delicious soup. Another popular Jewish parsnip recipe is Matzoh Ball Soup.
- British – Sheppard’s Pie – This is a very popular parsnip recipe that is enjoyed by many. Meat is the main ingredient in this pie along with carrots, parsnip, onions, flour and spices. Parsnip gives it a nice flavor.
- American – Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms is one of the popular parsnip recipes of America. This tossed and grilled dish is made with portabella mushrooms and one of the ingredients that go into the topping that is used on the mushrooms is parsnip. Other popular American parsnip recipes are Vegetarian Vegetable Soup, Roasted Root Vegetables with Apple Juice, etc.
- Italian – Giambotto is a popular Italian parsnip recipe. This wonderful meal is not only wholesome, but delicious too. It is made with a lot of vegetables put together with parsnip being one of the vegetables. A lot of spices and herbs are added to the vegetables and all the ingredients are simmered till they cook well and flavors are well retained.
Parsnip Recipes: Trivia
Parsnip is best complimented with herbs such as thyme, parsley, basil, dill weed, and tarragon.