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Monday, November 18, 2013

Make Parsnip Soup and Baked French Fries Recipes

Make Parsnip Soup and Baked French Fries Recipes

Parsnips are cultivated mainly in regions that have moderate temperatures, rather than extreme hot or cold temperatures. Parsnips are only occasionally cultivated in the cooler parts of the tropics. The Hollow Crown is a very old heirloom variety of parsnips mostly cultivated in the Eastern African country of Malawi on the Shire plateau. 

When cooking with parsnips choose small to medium parsnips, as larger ones can be fibrous and tough with little flavor. Choose firm rather than limp or wrinkled fresh parsnips. Avoid those with a lot of whisker roots or brown patches as this indicates that they may not be the freshest parsnip in the vegetable department.

Parsnips are related to carrots and parsley but with cream-colored skin and flesh, the root vegetable is harvested in a similar way as carrots. Parsnips are rich in potassium, antioxidants, soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. 

The parsnip is considered a winter vegetable for two reasons. Firstly, it’s often used as a component in soup packs; secondly, the taste greatly improves when subjected to frosty conditions. Cold causes the starches to convert to sugars.

Freshly grown organic parsnips from Malawi
Freshly grown organic parsnips from Malawi

How to Make Malawi Parsnip Soup Recipe

4 parsnips washed, slice thin
1 medium finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 cups vegetable broth

In a large pot over medium heat add all ingredients and simmer until parsnips are very soft about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and blend for a creamy soup or use a potato masher for a chunkier texture.

Parsnips Education

Parsnips are native to Europe and Asia and were used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for medicinal and food purposes. Parsnips were introduced into North America in the early 1600s and were grown by the Indians.

Parsnips are biennial, but are grown commercially as an annual. It is cultivated mainly in temperate regions worldwide and only occasionally in the cooler parts of the tropics, including East and Southern Africa.

Parsnips have shallow roots and the crop has higher moisture requirements than other vegetables. The old cultivar Hollow Crown is mostly cultivated in East Africa; other well-known cultivars are Guernsey and Offenham.

Parsnips are a long-season crop typically needing 110 to 130 days for maturity. However, in certain areas, roots are lifted and sold after only 95 days. Parsnips are harvested in a similar way as carrots. Wear protective clothing for harvesting parsnips. Parsnip roots and leaves contain compounds, furano coumarins which may cause inflammation of the skin.

The crop is a member of the Umbelliferae family of vegetables, related to carrots, fennel, celeriac and parsley root. This creamy-white root vegetable is low in calories, fat and sodium, naturally cholesterol-free, and high in fiber and several vitamins and minerals.

Baked Spicy Parsnip French Fries
Baked Spicy Parsnip French Fries

Baked Spicy Parsnip French Fries

This is an easy way to make a great side dish for chicken and beef.

4 Parsnips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).Cut parsnips into strips. Mix olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, and onion powder together. Coat parsnips with oil/spice mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes and serve. 

More Parsnips Education

Parsnips should be left unpeeled and steamed or boiled to bring out their maximum flavor potential. Save the nutrients and do not peel young, small parsnips. Just gently scrub them to remove any dirt and serve them whole. 

If there is no other choice, when cooking with older parsnips, peel very thinly to avoid waste. Because the parsnip ranks third behind the potato and manioc, with about 75% the quantity of starch found in the potatoes ranks it as an important food source in East and Southern Africa.

The parsnip offers a wide complementarity with other tasty foods. Compared to carrots, the parsnip is a minor crop in most grown countries. The fleshy, aromatic and slightly mucilaginous root is eaten as a cooked or fried vegetable. It is also used in soups and to add flavor to stews.

The seed, which tastes similar to dill is occasionally used as a condiment. The leaves have diuretic properties. A poultice from the roots is applied to sores and inflammations and to treat skin diseases.

Did you know
When picking parsnips wear protective gloves since the shoots and leaves contain a sap when exposed to the sun causes a reaction to the skin like poison oak and ivy.

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