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Shaped like carrots, parsnips are a root vegetable in the same family as carrots, celery and parsley and originated in Europe and Asia. Before sugar cane was introduced in Europe, parsnip was used as a sweetener, as they have a slighty nutty, sweet flavor. Sadly, once sugar was introduced into Europe, parsnip became the ‘forgotten’ vegetable, and carrots took center stage. Spicier than carrots, parsnips can be eaten raw in salads, or blended in soups or casseroles, served on the side, mashed with potatoes or even or fried as chips. Mix with pomegranate and quinoa for a perfect holiday side dish, and for a savory gluten free stuffing, combine parsnips with carrots, mushrooms, onion and spices and wow your guests! Some chefs will use this sweet vegetable to sweeten cakes, pie and bread, and even blend with milk and sugar to make delicious ice cream!
High in fiber, vitamins B-complex, B-6, C, E, K, folic acid, thiamin, iron, calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, maganese and folate, and loaded with antioxidants, parsnips are an anti-inflammatory and antifungal, boosts the immune system and is even known to reduce risk of cancer. The unusually high vitamin C and mineral content helps maintain healthy connective tissue, aids digestion, controls heart rate and blood pressure, and even improves brain function. and vision!
Easy to grow, this hardy vegetable is a great addition to your garden and can be planted between April to June in full sun. Parsnips can be harvested from late fall through January, and are at their sweetest after a frost. Once harvested, parsnips quickly turn soft, and are best left in the ground until needed.
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