Many people do not realize that although parsnips are a vegetable they are also a perfect natural sweetener. In ancient times before cane sugar was introduced in Europe parsnips were used as the sweetener for drinks, desserts and much more. I love using parsnips along with other root vegetables to accompany roast dinners and Christmas dinner. Try out these fantastically sweet veggies today.
Varieties: There are many different varieties of parsnips grown worldwide and some of the more popular varieties are the Hollow Crown, The Student and the All American types. Parsnips are root vegetables and are in the same family as carrots and parsley.
Season: Parsnips can be grown year round but they are primarily at their peak from the fall through the spring. As with most root vegetables they are perfect during the cold months and are a great additions to most holiday meals and roasts.
Heath Benefits: Parsnips contain many nutrients including some anti-oxidants that are very important for our overall health. The potassium and folate levels in parsnips help to decrease the risk of heart disease as well as protecting against high blood pressure and promoting red blood cell count. Folate is also important for the development of the fetus in pregnant women. The vitamin C content helps to boost our body’s immune system and promote healthy skin and hair by producing collagen. The vitamin K and manganese helps to improve bone health while the dietary fiber helps to regulate the digestive system.
Nutrients: Contains vitamins B, C, E and K as well as calcium, iron, sodium, zinc, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and dietary fiber. One parsnip is about 19 calories.
How to store them: When selecting parsnips in the store or market be sure to choose ones that have beige skin and are blemish and damage free. Make sure they are firm but not soft. Store parsnips in the fridge for up to about two weeks.