Parsnips
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Scientific Classification

Kingdom:
Plantae
(unranked):
Angiosperms
(unranked):
Eudicots
(unranked):
Asterids
Order:
Apiales
Family:
Apiaceae
Genus:
Pastinaca
Species:
P. sativa
Binomial name
Pastinaca sativa
L.[1]
About
The parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is a root vegetable related to the carrot. Parsnips resemble carrots, but are paler than most of them and have a stronger flavor. Like carrots, parsnips are native to Eurasia and have been eaten there since ancient times. Zohary and Hopf note that the archeological evidence for the cultivation of the parsnip is “still rather limited,” and that Greek and Roman literary sources are a major source about its early use, but warn “there are some difficulties in distinguishing between parsnip and carrot (which, in Roman times, were white or purple) in classical writings since both vegetables seem to have been sometimes called pastinaca yet each vegetable appears to be well under cultivation in Roman times.”[2] As pastinache comuni the “common” pastinaca figures in the long list of comestibles enjoyed by the Milanese given by Bonvesin de la Riva in his “Marvels of Milan” (1288).[3]
In the United States, this plant was introduced fairly early in history by British colonists as a root vegetable. In the mid-19th century, it was replaced in popularity by the potato and consequently escaped from cultivation. Today, most states have wild parsnip on their list of noxious weeds or invasive species.
Parsnip is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including its namesake, the Parsnip swallowtail and also the Common Swift, Garden Dart, and Ghost Moth.
The parsnip is richer in vitamins and minerals than its close relative, the carrot. It is particularly rich in potassium with 600 mg per 100 g. The parsnip is also a good source of dietary fiber. 100 g of parsnip contains 55 Calories (230 kJ) of energy.

Growing
Parsnips are not grown in warm climates, since frost is necessary to develop their flavor. The parsnip is a favorite with gardeners in areas with short growing seasons. Sandy, loamy soil is preferred; silty, clay, and rocky soils are unsuitable as they produce short, forked roots.
Seeds can be planted in early spring, as soon as the ground can be worked. Harvesting can begin in late fall after the first frost, and continue through winter until the ground freezes over.
More than almost any other vegetable seed, parsnip seed significantly deteriorates in viability if stored for long, so it is advisable to use fresh seed each year.
Uses
Until the potato arrived from the New World, its place in dishes was occupied by the parsnip and other root vegetables such as the turnip. Parsnips can be boiled, roasted or used in stews, soups and casseroles. In some cases, the parsnip is boiled and the solid portions are removed from the soup or stew, leaving behind a more subtle flavor than the whole root and contributing starch to thicken the dish. Roasted parsnip is considered an essential part of Christmas dinner in some parts of the English-speaking world and frequently features in the traditional Sunday Roast. Parsnips can also be fried, or can be eaten raw, although raw parsnips are not frequently consumed.
The parsnip originates in the Mediterranean region and originally was the size of a baby carrot when fully grown. When the Roman Empire expanded north through Europe, the Romans brought the parsnip with them. They found that the parsnip grew bigger the farther north they went.
Recipes
Roased Parsnips with Mint and Sage
Recipe provided by www.Allrecipes.com; Recipe submitted by: M. Fede.
4 parsnips, peeled and cut into large sticks
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1.Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
2.Place the parsnips into a mixing bowl and toss with the olive oil. Sprinkle in the garlic, honey, salt, and black pepper to taste. Toss until evenly coated, and spread out evenly onto a baking sheet.
3.Bake in the preheated oven until the parsnips are tender, about 30 minutes. Scrape into a mixing bowl, and toss with the mint and sage.