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Parsnip History

Parsnips are nutritionally superior to potatoes

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Parsnips

© 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone
These days, the potato has pretty much taken the place of the parsnip as a source of starch in our diets. In days of old, before potatoes were deemed edible, the parsnip was prized not only for its long storage life, but also for its sweet, nutty taste and nutritional value. Parsnips can be eaten raw as well as cooked. Learn more about this nutritious root vegetable and try some interesting old and new parsnip recipes.

Parsnip History and Facts

The parsnip, botanically-known as Pastinaca sativum, is a starchy root vegetable resembling an overgrown ivory-skinned carrot. Parsnips grew wild in Europe and were considered a luxury item for the aristocracy in ancient Rome. Due to their natural sweet and nutty flavor, parsnips were usually served sweetened with honey or in fruited cakes and desserts.

The Europeans brought parsnips to the United States in the 16th century, but to this day, they are not as popular with Americans as their carrot cousins. Although starchy like a potato, the parsnip is considered nutritionally superior.

If you grow your own, this root vegetable is best harvested after the first frost since the cold converts the starch to sugar, sweetening the parsnip and mellowing the flavor.

More About Parsnips and Parsnip Recipes:

Parsnip Selection and Storage
Parsnip Cooking Tips and Measures
Parsnip History
Parsnip Recipes
Parsnips Photo © 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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