By Chelsea Fisher
Parsnips often play second fiddle to other root vegetables, but they deserve a starring role in your vegetable line up. They contain ample folate, which the American Cancer Society reports can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and possibly other cancers, as well. Parsnips’ high fiber content is equally beneficial to the digestive system. They are also a potent source of potassium, a necessary nutrient for the body to run normal functions, especially heart rhythm, blood pressure, muscle impulses, and digestion.
Parsnips are surprisingly sweet and make a delightful addition to any fall plate. A relative to the carrot, they have a similar look with paler flesh and can be used in place of potatoes in many recipes. In fact, before potatoes became a popular food staple, parsnips often played the starch role and were prized for their long shelf life, taste, and nutritional value.
Bigger isn’t better when it comes to choosing parsnips. The larger, more twisted roots often have a hard, woody core. When buying parsnips, look for the smaller, straighter roots with a creamy skin clear of any yellow or brown blotches. Parsnips should last up to 10 days in the refrigerator.
Parsnips can be eaten raw but become sweeter when cooked. Parsnips need to be peeled before cooking, but then there’s not much they can’t do. They make great soup. They can be mashed like potatoes by simply peeling, chopping, and boiling for about 10 minutes or until tender. And they are deliciously sweet when roasted — a great side dish. Try them in Cook For Your Life’s Oven Roasted Root Veggie Fries, Vegan Sopa Verde with Parsnips or Baked Stuffed Parsnips.