Who Knew Parsnips Are So Versatile?

The humble parsnip is a vegetable that only EVER was roasted in our home before we started our smallholding lifestyle. Like most things in our home we use the phrase “Waste not, want not” every day so we do much more with parsnips now.

Parsnips grow very well in our vegetable plot. Other vegetables are hit and miss having good years and bad years but parsnips never seem to fail. Even better they can be left in the ground for long periods of time, not needing to be harvested within a short time window, They fit into our timescale…who can ask for more? This week we’ve made some time to start lifting them.

So what do we do with them? Lets start with something that probably won’t surprise you.

To allow us to enjoy roast parsnip at any time of year we blanche and freeze parsnips. Blanching is just boiling the parsnips for 2 minutes and plunging them into ice cold water before freezing them. We use our Foodsaver vacuum packer to prevent freezer burn. Pretty standard stuff.

What else do we do with them?

We make up LOTS of Curried Parsnip Soup. We pressure can it to preserve it so we can eat portions all year round. The soup uses many more of the produce we grow here at our home including onions, chillies, potatoes and chicken stock. It’s a great way of making use of what we have.

One of the more unusual things that we make with parsnips is WINE. Yes, we said WINE. No, it’s not horrible or lacking in flavour….it’s smooth and unexpectedly a little like Chardonnay. Honestly it’s well worth the effort for almost no cost.

Finally we make our parsnips truly self-sufficient. We grow a variety called Tender & True. Each year we keep a small patch of parnips and allow them to go to seed. This is how tall parsnip flowers are…around 7ft tall and they reach this height in their 2nd summer.

Trust me, you only need a few plants as one plant produces hundreds and hundreds of seeds.

It’s so easy to seed save and we never have to buy any seed again. We just cut the entire seed head off and tie it upside down in a bucket while it dries. Once dried the seed drops into the bucket and anything still on the seed head can be shaken into the bucket.

The little, humble parsnip is so much more to our home than a Sunday Roast accompaniment. If you’d like to know more about seed saving, parsnip soup or parsnip wine click on the links to head on over to our YouTube channel.

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