The History of Parsnip


Although history shows that parsnips have been around for at least 2,000 years, wild parsnips are inedible.  It was only through continuous cultivation that made the parsnip we know today taste sweet and aromatic.

Parsnips held some esteem in ancient times and are described the way carrots are described.  In Europe, this root crop served not just as a staple food especially during Lent, but also as sweeteners to bread, cakes and jams before sugar was invented.

Believed to have originated from the East Mediterranean, parsnips are also valued for its medicinal uses.  Parsnip roots were used to treat stomach aches, toothaches and swollen testicles.  It was also used as animal fodder in the 16th century.

However, whatever esteem parsnips held soon declined when potatoes were introduced.  Its popularity went down further with the invention and availability of sugar.  Because of these, parsnips are not commonly eaten except in Northern European countries.

How did this root crop got to North America?

It was believed that parsnips were introduced there by early settlers and colonists.  It was cultivated in Virginia and was later welcomed by native Americans.

A root crop similar to carrots, parsnips have a slightly yellowish color and white flesh.  Its scent is similar to celery but with a sweet, nutty taste.

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