What is a Parsnip?
Parsnips look like funny white carrots, which makes sense–they’re members of the carrot family. They have a sweet, mild, earthy flavor that’s all their own. You can actually eat them raw, but cooking improves their taste and texture.
How to Pick the Best Parsnips
Look for parsnips that are small, rather than beefy. Large parsnips can be fibrous, while smaller ones are more tender and have a better flavor. The larger the parsnip, the larger its woody core—a part that’s best removed, rather than cooked.
Avoid parsnips that are shriveled, spotted, or floppy. Parsnips are best in the cold weather months, fall to winter.
How to Prep Parsnips for Cooking
Peel parsnips as you would carrots. Cut off the narrow end of the parsnip first. Then quarter the wide end lengthwise so you can cut out and remove the fibrous core, if needed. Sometimes the core isn’t very hard or developed, and you don’t need to remove it.
Parsnips will discolor if cut and stored over an hour or two. To minimize browning of cut parsnips, refrigerate in water with a squeeze of lemon juice.