17.12.2021 - (Source © lid.ch) - The parsnip is a classic winter vegetable, but it had to fight back for its place in local kitchens: As a discontinued model, it has made an amazing comeback and is back in fashion today.
In the Middle Ages, the starchy parsnip was as important as the potato is today. Due to its low susceptibility to disease, it was one of the most important staple foods in our latitudes until the middle of the 18th century.
But then it was increasingly replaced by potatoes and carrots - and finally almost completely forgotten. In contrast to Switzerland, Austria and Germany, the vegetable has remained popular in England, the USA, France, Holland, Scandinavia and Hungary over the decades.
The vegetable, which was underestimated for a long time, has regained its place on local plates, as the cultivation figures show: while in 2010 around 55 tons of parsnips were harvested on a good 5 hectares, 10 years later Swiss vegetable producers harvested around 1 '100 tons of parsnips.
Like carrots or radishes, parsnips grow underground. The roots are white-yellow in colour. The parsnip belongs to the umbelliferae family. This family affiliation can be clearly recognized by the double umbel inflorescences during the flowering period from July to September. Compared to other root vegetables, the parsnip is a real nutrient package. It contains, for example, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, calcium, potassium and zinc.
The parsnip has a subtle sweetness and a slightly earthy-nutty taste. If the roots are harvested after the first frost, they have an even milder aroma. They can be harvested fresh all winter long on frost-free days and taste good as oven vegetables, gratins, raw in salads or processed into a fine soup. It is easily digestible and wholesome, which is why it is often used for baby food. Their season always begins in late autumn and lasts until around April.
Parsnips should be stored in a cool, dry place. Wrapped in kitchen paper or, even better, in slightly damp bamboo towels, they can be kept in the refrigerator for up to four weeks. For a longer shelf life, the parsnips must be blanched for three to four minutes and then frozen.
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