Parsnip, unloved with nutritional and flavor benefits

Unloved, forgotten, adored! The course of the parsnip is atypical. Today we know how to recognize its nutritional and taste properties. Let’s enjoy it all winter!

Parsnip, disliked
Parsnip, unloved with nutritional and flavor benefits

Parsnip ID card

Parsnip (Parsnip sativa) is a biennial vegetable belonging to family Apiaceae, like the carrot, which it closely resembles (especially when the latter is white).

It’s the parsnip a very old vegetable. Already the ancient Romans cultivated it, while in the Middle Ages it was present in herb gardens (medicinal plants) to cheer up the convalescent and melancholic. Unfortunately for his French vegetable career, the arrival of the potato sent him into oblivion for a time when his fame was only in its infancy. Only the English (and a few other north-eastern European gourmands) seemed to like it.

But the parsnip came back; and through the front door (the height of irony)! With the return “forgotten” vegetables in the dishes of great chefs in search of “new” flavors, parsnips get a boost and now help preserve ours!

Nutritional properties of parsnips*

Parsnips contain many minerals and trace elements : iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and above all manganese (24% of the RDI per 100 g raw) and potassium (25% of the RDI; parsnips are 3e a vegetable which contains the most raw or stewed potassium).

As for vitamins, vitamin B is widespread (6 of the 8 B vitamins), with a very interesting intake of vitamin B9 (40% of the NRVs per 100g cooked). There is also vitamin E (+/-15% of the NRVs per 100 g cooked or raw), vitamin K1 (30% of the NRVs per 100 g raw) and vitamin C (between 7.92 and 11.50 mg depending whether it is cooked or raw).

Finally, parsnips are also useful source of fiber (5.60 g fiber per 100 g cooked).

In short: low in calories but rich in nutrients, the consumption of parsnips contributes to well-being in general and to the proper functioning of the immune defense, to good heart and bone health in particular.

Parsnip varieties

There are different forms of parsnips.

The most common half-lengths

  • From Guernsey“, with a dense, white and smooth root.

  • Turga‘: mild taste noted if the root is harvested after the first frosts.

The long ones

  • Tender and True‘ with a regular, very pointed root and a sweet fleshy part with excellent taste qualities.

  • Aroma“, with a mild and sweet taste, perfect for rawness.

The circles

  • Hasty circle“, with the top form of the root (7 cm in diameter), very tasty.

  • Russian king“, with tender and sweet flesh.

Parsnip season

From September to February/March.

How to choose your parsnip?

The root should be firm with a creamy or white (not yellow) and fairly shiny skin.

To know : if small roots are stored shorter (dry faster), large ones are more fibrous; choose medium sized parsnips!

How to store parsnips?

Store parsnips like carrots in a cool place away from light and moisture (vegetable container, gardener’s silo).

The duration of the call

How to cook parsnips?

Steamed (Steamed Vegetables and Pureed Wild Garlic), Pan-Sauteed (Sauteed Parsnips and Turmeric Bananas), Pureed (Puréeed Parsnips with Spices), Casserole (Rooted in Casserole), Souped (Heirloom Vegetable Soup), Gratin (Pechenka of walnut, turnip and parsnip), chips, french fries… parsnip is easy to cook and can be used in many recipes (tagine, couscous, pot-au-feu…).

We don’t necessarily think about it, but parsnips can also be eaten raw, grated like carrots.

To know : you don’t need to peel organic parsnips before cooking them. It is enough to wash or scrape it.

Trick: lemon the freshly cut parsnip pieces to avoid oxidation.

And in a sweet version?

Parsnips can also be transformed into jams, flour and even beer (Belgium) and gin (Canada).

Cooking time

  • Steam: 20 minutes.
  • Stewed: 20 min.
  • In the oven: 40 min.
  • In boiling water: 15-20 min.
Parsnip, disliked
Infographic – Parsnip, unloved with nutritional and taste benefits

*Sources: ANSES 2020 (Ciqual Food Nutrient Composition Table) /

**NRV: Nutritional Reference Value, previously referred to as the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), per 100 g.

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