Parsnips: Why They are Unpopular


People now can appreciate the sweet taste of parsnips more, but this root vegetable has a long history of unpopularity.  Even today, parsnips are still looked down in some places and are not often used in cuisines.

According to Notcutts, parsnip is one of the most hated vegetables in Great Britain.  It is a root crop that has always fallen under the shadow of sweet potatoes and butternut squash.  They are rarely chosen to be included in dishes especially French and Italian cuisines.

Why could this be so?  How could parsnips prestige in ancient times have sunk so low?

There could be several reasons.  Parsnips are cheap and because they are cheap, the poor people can easily afford it.  Thus, parsnips have been seen as crops for the poor – a mainstream staple food for the common people.  And because they are available all year round, even in winter, it is an ideal livestock fodder – which makes the Irish view parsnips as food fit only for pigs.

Folklore also surrounds this root vegetable.  It is believed that parsnips that have been left on the ground over the winter would become poisonous.  Other myths say it is harvesting it before the first frost that can make it poisonous.

Both of these aren’t true, of course.  But it didn’t help the reputation of parsnips any.

But folklores and pre-conceived notions aside, we should try eating again the things we used to hate as children.  Taste buds develop as people grow older and it may very well be that we can appreciate the taste of parsnips now compared before.

Aside from being sweet and delicious, parsnips are also healthy and nutritious.