Parsnips were once used in abundance – both as a vegetable and as a sweetener - before the potato surpassed it in popularity.

Parsnips are cold-weather root vegetables. They are closely related – and shaped like – carrots, along with celery and chervil. They can be prepared in various ways: boiled, fried, steamed, roasted, and mashed. Sweet overtones lend the parsnip to desserts such as “parsnip pie.” They also balance nicely in soups, stews, and casseroles.


Parsnips range in color from white to creamy yellow. Shape varies according to type. Some will be slender and long (bayonet); wedges are elongated and wide, while the bulbous varieties are stubby with a rounded top.

Buying Tips

Choose those that are small to medium (no more than 10” in length) for best tenderness. Avoid those with sprouting rootlets.

Storage Tips

Refrigerate in sealed plastic bags for at least two weeks. Remove the green tops first or they will continue to drain moisture from the root. After cooking, use within two days. Parsnips freeze well – up to ten months – when blanched.

Usage Tips

• Parsnips are usually cooked before serving, but the youngest roots can be grated and used in salads.

• Wash briskly before preparing. Some are coated with a food-grade wax to preserve moisture and color.

• Use a grater to remove the outer skin on medium and large parsnips or par-boil and pull the skin off.

• Larger roots develop a hard, bitter core that should be removed - either before or after cooking.

• Parsnips tend to disintegrate or turn to mush with long cooking and the nutrients will be lost.

• Coat in olive oil, season, and roast for a tasty side dish.

• Glaze with honey and cinnamon for a sweet treat.

Substitution Tips

Sweet potatoes, carrots.

Try one of our favorite parsnip recipes:

Breaded Parsnips
Maple-Glazed Parsnips
Orange Parsnips