I was doing a little maintenance in the garden yesterday and came upon this vigorous bush of green shading my new strawberry plants. I had a suspicion it belonged to a parsnip I planted last fall.
I bent down and pulled on the green leafy part.
And I pulled....
And I PULLED....
Finally I had to get my forked spade to loosen the soil. And this is what came out.
Just proves you can grow some mighty big parsnips right here in the District of Columbia.
Actually, there were two parsnips. The other was just a wee bit smaller, but the tap root was nearly two feet long. I brought them into the kitchen and cleaned them. "Won't they be tough and woody?" my wife asked. I cut off the tip of the bigger parsnip and tasted. It seemed alright to me.
So I cut both roots into pieces and tossed them with some extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and scattered them on a baking sheet. I set the oven at 250 degrees so as not to scorch the parsnips. I went back out to garden and forgot all about them. About an hour later, my wife pulled them out of the oven. They were a bit overcooked and just a wee bit chewy by that point, but otherwise edible.
I have to admit, the cultivation of parsnips is still a mystery to me. I just haven't focused on them, preferring to scatter a few seeds and see what happens. Well, now I know what happens, so I can plant more and watch them a little more closely and have a better idea when to pull them out of the ground.
Mostly we roast parsnips. Our favorite treatment is to roast them in a heavy casserole with carrots, rutabaga and a little thyme. A very simple yet satisfying side dish for a roast. We like parsnips a lot.