Principal commercial varieties are All American, Hollow Crown Improved and Harris Model, all similar in size, taste and color.


Parsnips contain potassium, fibre, Vitamin C and are a good source of folate.


In the Middle Ages, especially during Lent, Europeans favored the parsnip because of its flavor, nourishment and ability to satisfy hunger through meatless fasting periods. In fact, parsnips once enjoyed greater popularity than either potatoes or carrots.

Parsnips are enjoyed by North Americans, but are consumed in greater volume by the people of northern and eastern Europe and western Asia.

Buying and storing

Select firm, unshriveled parsnips of moderate size (large ones can be woody.) The outside should be relatively clean and free of surface blemishes.

Parsnips will store well for several weeks in plastic packaging in the refrigerator's vegetable crisper.


Before using Parsnips, rinse well, trim the crown and peel the outer skin.

Parsnip has a flavor described as nutty, spicy or peppery. It's well suited to prolonged cooking, as in casseroles and stews, or oven-roasted on its own. It also fares nicely microwaved, steamed or boiled.

Classic preparations include mashed parsnips topped with buttered bread crumbs, glazed (partnered with roasted meats or game), creamed or in mixed vegetable soups.