Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa; in fact, the German word for it is Pastinake) has been part of man's diet for millennia; in Roman times, it was one of the most popular vegetables throughout the Eurasian part of the empire (remember: potatoes were not known in this part of the globe yet). It kept being top of the list until the mid 1800s, when in Germany and Austria, it was largely replaced by potatoes, while it never lost its popularity in the UK, France, Ireland and the US. Speaking of the US: the parsnip was cultivated there by the first settlers in Virginia as early as 1609.
As I said, it went out of fashion in Germany and only had its revival a few decades ago, when people became more interested in a more ecological approach to agriculture, and in bringing back some of the older sorts of cereal, fruit and vegetable as well as cow and pig races.
And if it had not been for my sister serving a very delicious vegetable stew on her birthday, parsnips included, I would have probably kept walking past them in the vegetable section of my favourite supermarket (Aldi).
Since then, though, I have cooked parsnips a few times and was always happy with the outcome. It can be eaten raw, like carrots, but is tastier when boiled or fried or cooked in the oven. I sometimes combine it with carrots and potatoes, all roasted together in the oven, to accompany a nice piece of meat for Sunday dinner when RJ is here. And last week, I had these leftovers and decided to cook them for myself when I had a home office day:
It is a very easy and quick meal, ready in 20 minutes (given you dice the potatoes small enough) and very nutrituous. All I did was peeling and dicing the vegetables, putting a tiny bit of olive oil in a pan, then the diced spuds, carrots and parsnips and added some water, just so that the pieces of veg were barely covered, then closed the lid and let the water boil and do its work.
When it looked more or less ready, I added salt, pepper, some ginger and dried herbs, and left it on the stove for a few more minutes.
The result was this - the blur in the picture has nothing to do with my camera, it was the steam rising from the plate.
Did you know that parsnip contains 4 times as much vitamin C, calium and proteins as carrots? I truly am grateful for my sister to have inspired me to use this lovely vegetable in my kitchen.